Last October, the Chargers faced the New Orleans Saints on national television on ESPN as the country saw quarterback Justin Herbert score four touchdowns with top receiver Keenan Allen sidelined with an injury.
It was only Herbert's fourth NFL game with no offseason workouts and limited training camp because Tyrod Taylor was projected as the starter. Towards the end, it was a shootout between him and veteran quarterback Drew Brees. In the end, the Saints won the game, but the country saw the Chargers had found a star at quarterback.
"Yeah, unfortunately, we came up short on that game," said Herbert. "But it was a lot of fun and being able to go up against the defense, like the saints, and especially being able to watch him on offense."
Months after the game, Brees has the same takeaway he did after the game.
"I've actually been really impressed with him," said the veteran quarterback.
Brees was in Costa Mesa for the Chargers second day of mandatory minicamp with NBC as part of training for his new role in television. The network goes to practices and meets with coaches and players to prep for their Sunday night game. The veteran quarterback retired a couple of months ago and will now be in front of the camera.
He was seen first visiting with former quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi for a couple of minutes. Lombardi is now the offensive coordinator of the Chargers, which means he has the duty of helping take Herbert's game to the next level.
"I think the sky's the limit for a guy like him (Herbert)," said Brees. "I love the fact that he's in his offense now with Joe Lombardi."
So, in the mind of Brees, what will this offense look like?
"It's like looking at the greatest restaurant menu that you've ever seen, right, but at the end of the day, you may not like this, you may not like that," explained Brees. "Let's just find the things that you're really good at, and let's hone in on those things. Let's make that our bread and butter. Let's make that the basis of what we do, and then we can build, and we can evolve off of that."
Now in Herbert's mind, what does he believe this offense will be?
"It's an offensive really take advantage of the skill players and getting the ball to Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler," explained Herbert. "That's really important for us."
When Lombardi was first hired, he spoke about how important having a good quarterback is to the system he wants to run. Allen, Williams, and Ekeler have all talked about how this offense will be catered to finding mismatches and exploiting them.
Brees has done that for years whether, which is why names like Marques Colston, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara, to name a few, have been some of the best at their positions. Speaking of Thomas, Lombardi said a few weeks ago that Williams would be playing in the spot of the Saints receiver in his offense.
"There's very few guys that I feel like they're never covered," explained Brees. "In other words, there's always somewhere where you can throw the ball where they can get it, and the DB (defensive back) can't, and that's a rare skill. It's a rare trait. That's a result of a few different things. A guy's physical ability, maybe his size, his strength, his awareness, his body control, and position. Mike Williams has all those tools."
Brees pointed to Williams and Herbert having to get their rhythm down, which they did towards the end of last season.
The veteran quarterback also went into the film room with Herbert and wanted to know what the young quarterback saw on film.
"Having him sit through our meetings, and being able to talk about the offense, especially an offensive he knows so much about, is always great," explained Herbert. "He's a guy that I'm going to reach out to continuously to keep checking on and seeing if, if there's anything I can learn from him."
There is a lot of knowledge that Brees can pass on to Herbert, which he already has, according to the quarterback.
"I think you have to listen to your coaches, and they know best and being able to continually get better and develop and if you make mistakes, so what you move on to the next play, you get the answer back," said Herbert when asked about what advice Brees gave him.
Brees also is a freak of nature when it comes to the game of football. He loves it so much. When the Chargers and Saints had joint practices in the past, Brees was the first player to show up, so he could stretch out, and he would do it for about an hour. He is that prepared.
Now, Herbert is going into his second season, and after the record-breaking rookie season he had, he could be facing big expectations.
"It's really is about the process, and it's about the good habits that you develop. If you focus on the process, then the result will take care of itself," said Brees.
The former Oregon Duck quarterback said he would continue blocking the outside noise and just focus on what his teammates, coaches, and family are telling him about his game.
For now, the young quarterback will focus on getting the offense down. He will be given a computer to review all the film, which means offense and defense. Herbert wants to be ready for camp.
"I'll be able to watch the film, go through it, and so that when July 27 comes that we report, I need to have that thing down to a tee," explained Herbert. "So, it's huge for the next couple of weeks."