“Chargers–Looking for the Next Winner”
In the last 40-years, the Chargers have had all of 3-quarterbacks you would call stars, winners, possible Hall of Famers.
Dan Fouts gave fans in San Diego four spectacular years in the midst of the Air Coryell years, but never got the chance to go to the Super Bowl, betrayed annually by a substandard defense and the Ice Bowl.
Stan Humphries led the Chargers to the playoffs and eventually a Super Bow game in his brief four year tenure before a concussion ended it all.
Philip Rivers has just completed a likely Hall of Fame run over a 16-year period, getting to the playoffs and one AFC-Championship game, that was derailed by injuries to LaDainian Tomlinson and Rivers own knee issues.
All teams go thru transition, and now it begins anew with another 1st round draft pick, Oregon QB-Justin Herbert.
He comes to the Bolts off 4-years of growth and success with the Ducks.
It didn’t start easy, nor go easy for the 6’6-QB. He played for 3-different head coaches in a 4-year span. He had to learn from 4-different offensive coordinators in those four seasons at Autzen Stadium.
It all started when injuries forced him on the field in the middle of his freshman season. End result a (70-21) blowout loss to the Washington Huskies in his first Pac 12-start. He has come a long way since then.
Herbert capped off his career with an MVP-outing in the Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. That was followed by an MVP-type showing in the Senior Bowl.
He leaves Oregon with a (30-12) career record and bowl wins. He exited the senior season with a (4.05-GPA). He concluded wearing Green and Lemon by throwing for (10,541Y-95TD) in a 44-game career.
He overcame the loss of the man who recruited him, head coach Mark Helfrich, dumped after 1-losing season after 34-wins in the three years prior. He stood in the middle of the lone season of crossfire with coach Willy Taggart-who was there-but didn’t want to me there. He flourished under Mario Cristobal, leading Oregon back to the glory days of Mike Belotti and Chip Kelly.
He is resilient, tough, strong minded and all-in in the football world.
From that catastrophic first start against the Washington Huskies, Herbert drove the Ducks to excellence as the program bounded back with him at the helm.
They battered Washington twice. Beat Mike Leach and Washington State’s Air Raid offense in shootouts. Wins against hi-octaine USC, defensive stalwart Utah, victories over Nebraska and Michigan State. Showup and get beat up.
Look at the stat sheet and be impressed. Look at the video and be wowed.
Listen to the people who studied him, interviewed him, and talked to everyone who was around him, and you have to come away impressed.
General Manager Tom Telesco:
..Driven to be great.
..He asked a lot of right questions
..Outstanding senior season
..6’6-a big man
..Could be a franchise quarterback
..He could play in a month…or in this first year
..Fanatical student of the game
It took Dan Fouts 5-losing years in a row to get established, and make people forget about (2-12) and (2-11-1) seasons early on before the Bolts became great. Fouts first five seasons brought a (12-30-1) record to San Diego. Oddly his career record was (86-84-1). He did throw (254TDs) but also (242) picks.
Humphries came in a trade from the Redskins with little experience and drove San Diego to the playoffs twice and then a Super Bowl season. His ledger was (50-32) with (85TDs-73 Int). It ended way too early.
Rivers sat for 2-years behind Drew Brees, then became great. He left with 123-career wins, all those touchdowns, and the full respect of the franchise, the fans and the media. When he was done, he had driven his team to 12-13-14 win seasons, winding up (397TD-198Int). He had to bear the brunt of front office mistakes of saddling him with head coaching failures like Norv Turner and Mike McCoy, good guys but bad head coaches.
It won’t come easy for Justin Herbert. Troy Aikman went (1-15) his first season in Dallas. Peyton Manning was (3-13) the first go round with the Colts.
Somewhere in between the street fighter that was Aikman, to the mad scientist that was Manning, to the gunslinger that Rivers became, lies Justin Herbert.
It will be fun watching him grow and seeing if an emotionally downtrodden team in Los Angeles, can ever achieve what it did in San Diego, sellouts, and a chance to play on Super Bowl Sunday.
Justin Herbert has earned this, and now his time has come.