This week the Los Angeles Chargers will travel to Tampa Bay, Florida to play the Buccaneers who are led by arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady.
Tom Brady is playing in his 21st NFL season, and the quarterback starting opposite him in Justin Herbert is playing in his 3rd career start.
This is the first time in NFL history that the starting quarterbacks for each team are over 20 years apart in their age, Tom Brady is 43 this season and Herbert is only 22. To put that into perspective, Justin Herbert was two years old when Tom Brady was selected at 199th overall by the Patriots several years ago.
This age gap is one of the most intriguing storylines going into week 4, and details the changes in quarterback play in the “new era” of quarterbacks that Justin Hebert is in and the “old era” of quarterbacks that are dwindling as the new-age takes hold.
Old Era of Quarterbacking
The traditional style of quarterbacking consisted of non-mobile quarterbacks sitting in the pocket and mainly handing off to the running back. That is the main style that Tom Brady has played in for 21 seasons with the Patriots and now the Buccaneers.
Brady has had a fantastic career in the NFL with 3 MVPs and 6 Super Bowl Championships. Brady is most likely the least-mobile quarterback in the NFL with a 40-time of 5.28 seconds, but he has been able to put together an illustrious NFL career.
The new face of the NFL is Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, who both are fantastic dual-threat quarterbacks. The traditional way of quarterbacking is on its way out of the NFL, as quarterbacks like Phillip Rivers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady reach their late 30s and even 40s, they only have a few seasons left to play before they are replaced by young dual-threat quarterbacks.
New Era of Quarterbacking
Passing has been king for several years in the NFL after the league made a switch away from bell-cow backs like Shaun Alexander, Preist Holmes, and the Charger legend LaDanian Tomlinson. The league has been passer friendly for several great quarterbacks such as Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. However, teams have started to adjust to the pass-heavy leagues and teams have had to draft quarterbacks that can be elite passers but also have the rushing upside to give them an advantage over defenses.
Most of the young starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now have that dual-threat ability, such as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Josh Allen, Russel Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and even the top five quarterbacks selected in the 2020 draft in Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert, Love, and Hurts all had sub-4.90 40-times in their combine. There has been a systematic switch in how teams draft their quarterbacks dating back to the 2012 draft where Andrew Luck, RG3, and Russel Wilson helped make that transition and the NFL has adopted that philosophy as the years have gone on.
Justin Herbert through the first two games of his career has shown off his rushing ability and his passing ability throwing for over 300 yards in both games. While he hasn’t had a chance to show off his running ability yet, his college film shows that side of his game well.
In his last collegiate game in the Rose Bowl, Herbert totaled three rushing touchdowns and an impressive run to win the game in the 4th quarter.
This new era of quarterbacking has been an exciting new chapter in the NFL, and the future is bright with these young stars.
Justin Herbert has played well in his first two games, with a couple of rookie mistakes along the way, but he is constantly improving and Anthony Lynn has said that he is making play call adjustments at the line, coming in at 6 AM to watch the film and is showing great pocket presence, which was something that was a concern for him coming out of Oregon.
If Herbert can perform this week it would make a strong case for him to remain the Chargers starter going forward, if he struggles then Tyrod Taylor will likely take over and Herbert will go back to the sideline to learn. Either way, the future is bright for the Chargers with Justin Herbert on the team.
This will be an opportunity to go “toe-to-toe” with the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football.
The Chargers will need to get a challenging victory on the east coast with the New Orleans Saints coming up next week, which will be another matchup where Herbert is significantly younger than Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
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