Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Justin Herbert packs on pounds from ‘getting after it’ in weight room; Chargers QB ready to elevate play

Justin Herbert is not resting on his laurels. The 24-year-old has spent this offseason working on getting better in all facets of the quarterback position. That includes adding some muscle onto his 6-foot-6 frame. Herbert told reporters that he is about 245 pounds, roughly 10 pounds more than his weight during the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. 

“Just lifting,” Herbert said when asked about his weight gain. “We’ve just been getting after it. Thankful to [Chargers head strength and conditioning coach] Jonathan Brooks, he’s been leading the charge.”

A stronger Herbert is great news for Chargers fans and not so good news for Los Angeles’ opponents. A Pro Bowler for the first time last season, Herbert is coming off of a 2021 season that saw him throw for 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns while completing nearly 66% of his passes. During his first two NFL seasons, Herbert has thrown 69 touchdowns while averaging nearly 4,700 passing yards per season. 

Along with his physical improvements, Herbert has been working on improving some of the technical aspects of his game. He’s specifically been working on his footwork, particularly in the run game while taking a snap from under center. 

“I think five step, seven step drops under center is going to be huge,” Herbert said. “I think we’re going to do our best to kind of utilize that as well, have that balance of run and pass game under center.” 

Continuity is on Herbert’s side this offseason. After working with several different offensive coordinators in college as well as with the Chargers, Herbert will spend a second straight season with Joe Lombardi, who is going into his season second as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator. Los Angeles ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring during Lombardi’s first season with the team. 

“I think the biggest thing is understanding that we’re miles ahead of where we were last year,” Herbert said of the Chargers’ offense. “Last year, we were focusing on calling the right plays in the huddle and making sure everyone was lined up in the huddle and getting lined up on the field. Guys have tons of film to look back on last year, and we’re further ahead of where we thought we were going to be.”

Along with Lombardi, Brandon Staley is back for his second season as the Chargers’ head coach. In Staley’s first season in Los Angeles, the Chargers finished 9-8 and were a missed field goal away from making the playoffs in 2021. The Chargers’ road to the playoffs won’t be any easier in 2022, as Los Angeles is part of an AFC West division that includes three other teams that have legitimate playoff aspirations. 

“I think we focus on ourselves,” Herbert said when asked about the outside expectations. “We’ve done a good job of kind of eliminating that extra noise. There’s going to be a lot of things said about the AFC West. We’re going to do just focus on this house and what we’re doing inside of it.”

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