After a record-breaking rookie year, what will Justin Herbert do for an encore? Well, that is the big question heading into his second year. He has his fifth new head coach and sixth different offensive coordinator in six seasons (including college).
Brandon Staley and his staff have already started on the right foot, along with general manager Tom Telesco set out to fix the offensive line signing four new starters plus adding two during the NFL Draft.
So, what are some projections saying about the season Herbert will have in 2021?
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Monton believes Herbert will complete 67-percent of his passes while throwing for 4,625 yards, 34 touchdowns, 12 interceptions while adding 244 rushing yards, and four touchdowns.
Monton believes that the Bolts should have a better offensive line in 2021 and that Herbert will feel more comfortable in the pocket.
Those numbers are near what Herbert threw his rookie season, so the second-year quarterback should be in line for having another good season.
ESPN’s Mike Clay is projecting that Herbert regresses a little bit, having him complete 65 percent of his passes while throwing for 4,424 yards, 28 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, also adding 248 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.
The most interesting part of all the stats is that Clay believes that Herbert will be sacked 37 times. That means he thinks the Chargers quarterback will be sacked five more times than in 2020. Even with a revamped offensive line, Clay must not think they will improve as much as many believe they will in 2021.
Both analysts are a little different when it comes to the numbers, but both see him making some plays with his feet the way he did last season.
It will be interesting to see if either one of them hits the nail on the head or Herbert takes the Patrick Mahomes/Lamar Jackson route and, in his second season, obliterates his rookie year stats and earns the MVP.
The Oregon product is in his first season of a new and “dynamic” offense that will have bits and pieces from the 49ers, Packers, Saints, and whatever they liked from last season. So it will be interesting to see if Herbert performs like the two analysts believe or if he takes off similar to his fellow AFC quarterbacks.