“Chargers QB–Big Decision”
Justin Herbert has put up big numbers in his first two seasons with the Bolts.
Now there is a bigger decision coming, not on which play to run, but whether to let him play.
Herbert took back to back big hits on his ribs in last Thursday’s loss in Kansas City. He has fractured rib cartilage, a painful, slow healing injury.
The team is not say;ing how many ribs are affected, but it’s likely he has 3-different injuries, considering the force of the hit, when he fell onto the helmet of a Chiefs pass rusher.
He did light throwing Tuesday. He did stretching on Wednesday and some running, but no passing at full speed. It was not a football driven workout.
Could he continue to rest the injury on Thursday and maybe do a limited walkthru practice Friday and Saturday? Yes.
But the big issue will be if he can stand in the pocket with a fierce pass rush coming? Can he run the offense if he has to be a pocket passer with no ability to move the pocket or run the ball? Will his throwing motion be impacted by a heavy flack jacket? And what happens if he gets sacked?
Chase Daniel and 3rd stringer Easton Stick took all the snaps on Wednesday.
Coach Brandon Staley spoke openly about medical treatment, the structure of the medical conversations, and the quarterback’s input in all this:
HEAD COACH BRANDON STALEY
On QB Justin Herbert’s injury status:
“Justin is day-to-day. He’s had a lot of rest since the last game, but I think the nature of the week is truly going to be a case-by-case, day-by-day basis. I know that he is feeling more comfortable. I know that he was able to do some light throwing yesterday, some rotational work, but we’re just going to take it day-by-day and see where his comfort level is, and truly trust him and let him be the guide of where we’re at, and make sure that we are prepared either way.”
On if Herbert will practice today:
“He’ll be out at practice for individual [period] today. Again, we’re going to try to take it day-by-day, period-by-period, to see where we’re at.”
On ‘the history of rib injuries here and how they were treated’ and ‘any trepidation’ involving Herbert’s treatment:
“This is, obviously, of the utmost importance. Any player that goes through something like this, that is your biggest responsibility, as a coach, to take care of your players. I think that we have full alignment with Justin [Herbert], his family, his agents and the medical professionals. That’s what we’re going to try and do, have alignment that way and just trust the process, and, hopefully, get him well soon.”
On ‘further precautions and treatments’ pertaining to Herbert’s injury:
“Definitely, from a protection standpoint out on the field, the rib protector, he’ll definitely have that, for sure. Then, the nature of the treatment plan, I think that is day-to-day. As those specifics become available, as things like that happen or are planning to happen, we’ll make sure that we communicate that.”
On his ‘process of making the determination’ of whether or not Herbert will play on Sunday:
“We’re going to listen to Justin [Herbert], number one. The player is at the front of all of the decisions that we make here, since I’ve become the head coach, to make sure that the players are at the front of all of the decision-making — their families, their agents, their team. Then, making sure that we have alignment with the medical team. That’s been my position since I’ve become the head coach. I think that that is where the modern NFL is, in making sure that they are at the front of every decision that we make and that they have long careers ahead of them. We have to make sure that they are as safe and sound as possible. We know that it is a tough game, and we want to make sure that they are able to play it. Just try to have full communication amongst all of those parties, and then come to a good decision there each and every time that we go out there.”
On if the decision to play on Sunday will be Herbert’s alone:
“It’ll start with him, and then, obviously, him feeling good about what the medical team feels like is best. Him weighing the options, and then us making a good decision. Again, it’s day-to-day with him, but we’ll keep communicating as the week goes on.”
On Herbert’s workout yesterday:
“In terms of being able to go through an individual [period] today, yes.”
On what he has to ‘see from’ Herbert in practice ‘to be convinced’ that Herbert can play on Sunday:
“Just making sure that Justin [Herbert] feels like he can go do the job the way that he can do it. That’s the big thing, him having confidence to be able to go play the game the way that it needs to be played. I don’t think that that is going to be determined today, it’s going to be determined as the week goes, up until the game. When I say it’s day-to-day, it’s how he is feeling. That can go all of the way up until Sunday.”
On if the run game will be an ‘increased area of focus this week’ due to Herbert’s injury status:
“You start with preparing for Jacksonville and what they do, how they do it. Then, featuring who we’re going to have available in the game. Then, certainly, if [QB] Chase [Daniel] is our quarterback, that factors in to a different equation, which we’ll be ready for. Then, if Justin [Herbert] plays, we’ll be ready for that, too. That’s part of our job. The plan would be different if we had a different quarterback, but that’s part of the job.”
On Daniel’s normal rep distribution compared to the amount he will participate today:
“Chase [Daniel] has done this his whole career. We’ve had to do this before. Chase is going to be ready to play. During the week, if Justin [Herbert] is full-go for the week, then he doesn’t get any of the team reps in walk-through and stuff like that, but he’ll take the work team [reps]. But if he’s the guy that is practicing out there, then he will take the lion’s share of the reps and we’ll be ready to go.”