Justin Herbert enjoyed an award-winning rookie season. Entering Year 2, the expectations for the Chargers quarterback are through the roof.
How new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi tailors his offense to fit the young signal-caller will be critical once training camp opens in July.
Herbert said last week that the new offense isn't much different from the previous iteration, but does put more on his plate.
"It's pretty similar. I think there are just more personnel [groups], more formations and a lot more put on the quarterback with going up to the line of scrimmage," he said, per the team's official transcript. "Like I mentioned earlier, having a set list of plays that you can go to against a specific defense. It's kind of a game-plan thing that you go up to the line of scrimmage, but that part I really enjoy."
Most of Lombardi's coaching career came under Sean Payton in New Orleans. The one time the grandson of Vince Lombardi wandered away from the Saints, he crashed and burned in Detroit, employing an offense that became stale and predictable before being fired after less than a year and a half. The hope is that Lombardi learned from that experience as he now shepherds one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.
Herbert said he's preparing to take more control on the field this season, but that comes with a lot more study work off the field.
"I think the tough part is memorizing and learning it all," he said of the offense. "That's where it's tough because you have to go in there and spend a lot of time watching film, practicing and repping it. That's what has been so great about these last couple of weeks, is just being out there with the guys, making mistakes and pointing out the wrong guy and doing the wrong things -- but you learn from it. You watch the film and you get better from it. As long as we're listening to the coaches and figuring that out, I think we'll be in good shape."
On paper, the Chargers have the talent to compete in the AFC West. Whether those projections become reality hinges significantly on Lombardi's offense and whether Herbert makes a Year 2 leap after a fantastic rookie campaign.