If Bill Belichick could have found a way to have Justin Herbert as his franchise quarterback, the New England Patriots head coach might be winning a few more Super Bowls. Belichick didn’t hide he scouted Herbert before the 2020 NFL Draft, even though the Patriots would have had to trade a significant haul to move up and get him.
New England had the 23nd overall pick while Herbert was picked sixth by the Los Angeles Chargers. The odds were long for Belichick to get Herbert, as he knew what the Chargers received when they selected him.
“It’s because he’s really good. Yeah. He’s really good. I thought he was outstanding,” Belichick said. “He just really had everything you’re looking for. He’s very athletic. Good arm. A lot of poise. Played well in Oregon. Just a number of big plays. All the passes. All the throws, but extended plays, scrambles, could run the read-zone and all that. He’s as good a quarterback as I’ve seen come out here in quite a while, especially as it fits the pro game.
“I don’t think you’re going to find too many better than him. This guy is really an impressive player. I thought he was really good when we played them last year, and, luckily, we had a pretty good day, but I’m not counting on that again.
“I have a ton of respect for him. I think he’s going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league for a long time to come.”
Herbert has certainly been impressive in his first 21 starts, having the fifth-highest completion percentage (68.23%), second-most passing yards (6,107) and the fourth-most passing touchdowns (45) through a player’s first 21 starts. Herbert has completed 65.4% of his passes for 1,771 yards with 14 touchdowns to just four interceptions this season (98.8 rating), leading the Chargers to a 4-2 start.
While Herbert started off his career well, the wins didn’t exactly come in his first season. The same can be said of Mac Jones, who has been playing well through seven games in his short career. Jones has completed 70.45% of his passes for 1,779 yards with nine touchdowns to six interceptions (92.8 rating). The completion percentage trails only Kurt Warner (70.52%) for the highest through a players’ first seven games in league history.
“Mac’s been steady, and I don’t think there’s any one play or any one moment that’s just changed the direction of his development,” Belichick said. “It’s just play-by-play, day-by-day, just stacking those together and accumulating the experience that he has.
“Whatever the case might be, so it’s a process. … We’re just taking it day-by-day and trying to improve tomorrow from where we are today and so forth, and hopefully that’ll serve us well in the long run. I’m sure it will. That’s the approach we’ve taken, whether it’s at quarterback or a combination of quarterback and all the other positions, that’s the world we’re in.”