You’ve got ten other guys looking at you in the huddle at all times. It doesn’t matter whether you’re up ten points and just threw a 70-yard bomb, or down by three touchdowns, coming off a pick-six. The quarterback still has to pull everyone together regardless of how the game is progressing.
Doing that as a rookie quarterback, or a quarterback whose only been in the league for a few years is even more complicated. Former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer, who played with the Washington Football Team and Cincinnati Bengals among other teams, is no stranger to that dynamic in the huddle where everyone is hanging on your every word and your next move.
In a segment with GMTM’s Joey Grant, Palmer honed in on the wild, but effective rookie season Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert is having in 2020. Herbert was thrust into the lineup in Week 2 after an unusual medical situation involving starter Tyrod Taylor.
And, despite the lack of practice reps and advanced notice that he would be starting, the former Oregon Ducks signal caller has been everything the organization could have hoped for this season.
As Palmer sees it, the Chargers have created a setting for the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft that allows him to be himself from a personality perspective.
“The Chargers are not relying on him to bring the energy,” Palmer noted. “His leadership is that he just stays calm…he’s been letting his play do the talking, and they’ve got a lot of other great leaders on that team. He’s done a fantastic job of just being Justin Herbert, playing well in games, and not overcomplicating it.”
Grant later pointed out similarities he saw between Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Josh Allen and Herbert, in terms of their physical attributes and style of play. Having personally worked with both talented quarterbacks in the past, Palmer agreed that their on field games resemble one other, but that their approach to leadership at this juncture is totally different.
“Josh is more Brett Favre than anything, he’s a wild man, hilarious, doesn’t stop talking... movie quotes... talking trash,” Palmer revealed in his assessment of Allen.
Allen has taken a huge leap in his third year, already throwing for a career high 21 touchdowns through ten games so far this season, guiding the Bills to an AFC East division lead in late November. Herbert, who may now be the clear cut favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year with the recent injury to Bengals QB Joe Burrow, has thrown for 22 touchdowns so far this season after being thrown into the fire.
While each guy brings different personality traits to the table, Palmer emphasized the notion of being true to who you are, and never trying to be someone else.
“If you’re calm, cool, collected, the goal is to be that all the time. Because if you’re only calm, cool, collected when everything is chill and easy, but when the moment gets too big…you’re down, you lose your mind when you throw two picks…that thing that you said you are, you’re not right now,” he commented.
Palmer suggested that fans keep an eye on Herbert’s face in addition to his arm strength and running ability for the rest of the season, because so far, his facial expression has had very little variance. As the Chargers have been involved in many close games that they’ve fallen just short in, Herbert’s continued outward poise will be a mannerism to watch for the rest of the season.