After two of the least productive games of his NFL career, Justin Herbert now also has an arm injury.
The Chargers quarterback hit the New England defender late Sunday’s game. On Wednesday, Herbert was restricted from training.
The situation was not publicly known until the team released an official injury report.
Herbert similarly hit Kansas City on September 26, but did not miss and beat Mike Williams in the last minute.
After beating the Chiefs, Herbert had 620 yards and seven touchdowns (no interceptions) in the air, defeating Las Vegas and Cleveland when the Chargers opened the season 4-1.
But he and offense have looked out of sync in the last two games, losing to Baltimore and New England. Herbert finished 54% of his attempts with three touchdowns and three loss interceptions.
After both games, Herbert admitted that he saw something in every defense that he did not expect. Against New England, he was also under constant pressure as the right side of his offensive line struggled.
Now, preparing to play Philadelphia, Herbert is faced with more than trying to solve the Eagles defense. It remains unclear how much his sore arm will affect his attempt to bounce back this weekend.
Herbert and coach Brandon Staley have no plans to face the media again until Friday, which means uncertainty is likely to remain.
Staley, who is spending his first season as head coach, spoke Monday about the importance of Herbert continuing to learn and grow through his second year in the NFL.
“I’m thrilled to attack the film with him,” Staley said. “I accept and take responsibility for mistakes because I need to coach this guy better. I have to train him better to play better because he is fantastic. This is just part of the process. “
Against New England, Herbert started and ended with a touchdown, during which he averaged 9 out of 13 for 139 yards. In the other nine complete Chargers runs, he posted nine out of 22 by 84 yards.
Having won 14-7 early in the match, the Chargers managed to keep the score close – thanks to their defense – until the Patriots finished with two possessions in the last three minutes.
Playing mostly in the area, New England effectively eliminated a major threat by forcing Herbert to throw under it. Staley suggested that success against such a scheme requires more patience than the Chargers demonstrated.
Herbert was fired three times and pressured 17 times, leading to several moments of rush. Two of the Chargers’ three longest-running games on Sunday came to the ground, a marked departure from that infraction as Herbert started last season in his rookie’s second week.
“Every time Justin Herbert goes out there, he will learn more and more,” Staley said. “He’s going to find out about all these defenses that exist in the NFL … and he’s going to really understand this game in the game.”
Herbert is the 2020 NFL’s Rookie of the Year. He has set or broke several league records, shooting 4336 yards and 31 touchdowns, completing 66% of his attempts.
These last two games represent the first really difficult period in his young career. Herbert had just four touchdowns offensively in 21 possessions.
“The thing is, Justin is at the very beginning,” Staley said. “What he did is create this incredible precedent where people expect him to shoot 300, 400 yards, 70% completions, four touchdowns, zero interceptions. It’s good that he set this standard for himself.
“But he still sees a lot the first time … he will improve every time he plays this game because it means a lot to him. But you cannot work at full strength all the time when you see and do something for the first time.
“There will be some kind of failure, some kind of disappointment. This is what I told him [Sunday]… … In this game he will learn a lot. That’s why they say experience is a great teacher, because the only way to learn from it is to do it. “
The Chargers assigned midfielder Kenneth Murray Jr. (ankle) to return from the injured reservist list and return to training. Its status for Sunday remains uncertain. … Starting defenders Michael Davis (hamstring) and Asante Samuel Jr. (concussion protocol) and backup defender Alohi Gilman (ankle) have not trained. Reserve runner Justin Jackson (quads) was also eliminated.