Justin Herbert is the latest quarterback to win The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
The Los Angeles Chargers’ breakthrough star, chosen sixth overall in last April’s draft, is the second straight quarterback and the ninth since 2004, when Ben Roethlisberger became the first QB to take the award. Herbert also is the second Charger to win it; running back Don Woods was the recipient in 1974.
Not even a starter when the season began, Herbert stepped in during the Chargers’ second game when Tyrod Taylor was injured during a medical procedure. Herbert never looked back and set a rookie record with 31 TD passes.
“I think it is a testament to all the hard work we have put in as a team, the coaching staff and the players,” Herbert said. “It’s been a tough year, but we put in a lot of good work, but just to be in the conversation (for the award) is an honor.”
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Herbert easily outdistanced Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. The margin was 41-9.
He particularly credited his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for his rapid rise.
“I would say it would have to be coach (Shane) Steichen and coach (Pep) Hamilton,” Herbert noted. “Those two probably had the most in my development, being able to spend a lot of time with them and learning from them. I think that is what helped the most.”
Still, the Chargers went 7-9, losing a bunch of close games, and head coach Anthony Lynn was fired. Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley replaced Lynn.
“The next step for us is to continue to develop as a team, keep pushing forward, win more games and close out some of those losses that we thought we could have had,” Herbert said. “But overall it’s just getting better, getting that locker room tighter, and keep doing a good job.”
The winner was revealed on the NFL Honors television show.