Since coming in second for free-agent quarterback Tom Brady's services earlier this offseason, the Los Angeles Chargers have pivoted to a different plan with an eye on the future. Veteran signal-caller Tyrod Taylor will enter training camp as the favorite to secure the Week 1 starting job while first-round rookie Justin Herbert will provide the primary competition.
"I know Tyrod's a pro," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said on Fox Sports Radio. "I know he's been through this before. We'll just see how everything plays out. We have no timelines on the rookie quarterback. But as I've said many times before, we're very happy with Tyrod and we're comfortable with him and we know that he can lead this offense and put points on the board."
Though the Chargers could conceivably have a stronger roster in 2020 by adding a healthy Cam Newton -- an idea head coach Anthony Lynn says they considered at one point earlier in the year -- the move to Taylor and Herbert potentially provides the team a better long-term outlook. Herbert, one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft, can develop his game without immediately having to produce on the field due to Taylor's presence.
Meanwhile, Taylor can showcase his ability to protect the football, an approach that stands in stark contrast with that of former starter Philip Rivers. Among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 career pass attempts, only future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers has a superior career interception rate to Taylor's 1.5%.
"We think we have a very good quarterback room between him and Justin Herbert and Easton Stick," Telesco continued. "It's a good group. We have some veteran presence in there, we have two young guys, and we'll just let it grow from there."
Regardless of which quarterbacks make appearances in 2020, the offense will look markedly different than the one the Chargers ran with Rivers at the controls. Whereas Rivers never possessed much mobility, all three signal-callers the team currently employs specializes in extending plays with their legs and making plays inside and outside of structure.
"You play to the strengths of the talents that you have," Telesco said. "Obviously, the three quarterbacks we have right now are all very athletic. They can all move the pocket. So, obviously, that's where the offense is going to go."
The Chargers will need time to fully transition from their previous shotgun-based offense to one that will feature more work under center with a heavier focus on play-action. Other clubs have made similar changes in recent years and the full benefits have often taken more than a single season to realize. Still, with a revamped quarterback room, it makes sense for Los Angeles to similarly revamp their approach to moving the football.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH