Basketball

Justin Herbert drives the Chargers offense with money throws on money downs


When the NFL media at large was projecting how Justin Herbert would fare in his sophomore season, a big point of emphasis was third-down efficiency. Generally, quarterback performance on third down is not a very consistent statistic from season to season. The numbers are volatile and fluctuate pretty significantly.

Herbert led the league in third-down dropbacks in 2020 as a rookie. Despite that high volume — largely the result of one of the lowest first-down success rates in the NFL — Herbert ranked seventh among starting quarterbacks in expected points added per dropback, according to TruMedia.

In the offseason, the word “regression” was thrown around because many believed — or at least posed the possibility — that this level of third-down production was not sustainable.

Through five games, Herbert is answering those doubts. He has actually been better on third down this season than he was as a rookie. He is averaging 0.36 EPA/dropback in 2021 compared to 0.18 in 2020. And his relative volume has not changed. Herbert is tied for third in the league with 60 third-down dropbacks, putting him on the same pace he was on last season with he had 180 third-down dropbacks in 15 starts. (Ideally, this rate would drop as the season progresses, but the Chargers, right now, are a middling early-down offense.)

Five games is a relatively small sample. So I am not going to proclaim that Herbert has proven his third-down efficiency to be sustainable. But on tape, Herbert has shown a special ability to create both within and outside the structure of the offense on third downs. And this also extends to fourth downs. Herbert is averaging 0.





READ NEWS SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.