Chargers Quarterback Situation is Familiar to Chiefs Coach Andy Reid
It has been a couple of days since the Chargers victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It wasn't a smooth offensive game.
The offense struggled to put points on the board, only scoring 16 points in 60 minutes. It was the first game quarterback Tyrod Taylor had started in a Chargers uniform, and the first time he was the starting quarterback in over 700 days.
After the game, head coach Anthony Lynn said he felt like Taylor made some good plays and made some questionable decisions. Twice in the first half, the offense got aggressive going for it on fourth down, and both times the team didn't convert. There were some missed throws by the veteran quarterback.
All in all, the team came out with the victory.
"He performed well enough for us to win the football game, but I feel like Tyrod knows he has to perform better," explained Lynn. "I thought he made some plays when we need him to, man. You know he stood in the pocket and threw the ball he got hit a few times, and there were times when he had to extend plays to create a little bit. Those were some very important drives. Those are some of the things that Tyrod can do with his mobility, but there's a couple throws you know he wishes he had back every quarterback in the League you know which there's a couple reads… a couple throws every single week, so just as an offensive unit overall we just need to be a little more consistent."
Now with the veteran quarterback struggling, Chargers fans on social media were clamoring for backup quarterback Justin Herbert to be inserted in the game. Obviously, it didn't happen. Taylor finished off the game with a victory.
The Chargers are facing the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. The idea is that for the next ten years, Herbert and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will do battle twice a year.
It is not time, though.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has been in the same spot as Anthony Lynn. The Super Bowl winning coach had a veteran quarterback who was dependable but decided to draft a young quarterback with a huge arm.
Reid had Alex Smith playing quarterback for him. Smith made plays, won games, and took care of the football. He was coming off a 12-4 season when the team decided to move up 17 spots to draft Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
So what did Reid do that season?
"It was Alex's job in my case," said Reid on a conference call with reporters. "It was his job. He came in and played and did a great job of it. The things happened after that, but we ended up trading him. At the time, I just wanted him to prepare I didn't want him looking over his shoulder or anything. I just wanted him to prepare and be ready."
Reid decided to sit the young quarterback until the final game of the season against the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs had already won the division at 10-6. Mahomes showed what he was made of, so the team decided to trade Alex Smith to Washington.
Two seasons later, Mahomes took his team to the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers. During media week, Reid said that having a veteran quarterback like Smith mentoring his young quarterback helped him develop.
"It was great for him," said Reid. "Nothing like one of your peers helping you out there."
This is a similar situation that the Chargers find themselves in. They have a veteran quarterback who takes care of the ball and can use his mobility to extend plays. The team still doesn't know what Taylor can entirely do because he only has one game under his belt.
"Yeah, I am sure Justin (Herbert) is sitting right there, taking everything in," explained Reid. "Tyrod does it the right way. I was lucky enough to coach him in the Pro Bowl, and he wanted to know everything about everything, even in the pro bowl, so I know he's conscientious about that he's a professional. He's not gonna give away the position. He is going to play. At the same time, you know for a young guy to be behind him sitting there and learn from him too."
Herbert isn't ready yet. He showed promise during training camp, but everything has worked against him because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the offseason programs were via Zoom, so he couldn't get the in-person work that most young quarterbacks do.
Lynn's best plan for the young quarterback is to follow Reid's example, which is to go with the veteran quarterback until the final game. Now obviously, Herbert is not Mahomes, but the Bolts need to think about what is best for the young quarterback's future, not listen to the noise around them.
Lynn has already taken a big step by hiring quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton. The veteran coach will help Herbert learn and help him develop his tools. He has a big arm, good mobility, and in college knew how to win. He needs to work on decision making.
So, for now, the Chargers need to take a page out of their divisional rivals and let Herbert learn until he is ready to take over for good.