Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has long been known as a quarterback whisperer, so when he offers high praise for a rookie quarterback, it’s worth taking notice.
Arians did that following the Buccaneers’ Week 4 game against the Chargers and first-year quarterback, Justin Herbert.
Herbert, who completed 20 of 25 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns against the vaunted Tampa Bay defense, made such a strong impression on Arians that the veteran coach made sure he expressed his opinion to Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
“I told Anthony [Lynn] after the game, You’ve got a great one. That looked like [Patrick] Mahomes, where we had an all-out blitz, and he just kept retreating. Then he threw a dime down the field. For rookies to make plays like that, you know they’re special,” Arians said.
It gets better for Herbert. Even Tom Brady, arguably the greatest player in NFL history, was impressed.
“He was very impressive. He played great,” Brady said after the game. “He’s got all the ability. He’s got a great arm. Moves really well. The team believes in him.”
The Chargers selected Herbert sixth overall in the 2020 NFL draft and the expectation was that he’d sit behind veteran Tyrod Taylor for most of his rookie season. Taylor suffered a punctured lung before Week 2’s game against the Chiefs, forcing Herbert into the starting lineup with very little notice.
Herbert’s thrived with the first team, completing 72 percent of his passes for 931 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions.
It looks like the Chargers got it right with Herbert, and with Joe Burrow shining in Cincinnati and Tua Tagovailoa’s time as the Dolphins’ starter coming soon, the 2020 NFL draft has a chance to be one of the best quarterback drafts in a while.