Justin Herbert's Release Compared to Vinny Testaverde's by Chargers QB Coach

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

Quarterback Justin Herbert works out during Oregon football pro day in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Collin Andrew)
Collin Andrew/Associated Press

Vinny Testaverde was a two-time Pro Bowler who played 21 seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterbacks coach Alfonza "Pep" Hamilton Jr. sees a lot of Testaverde in rookie Justin Herbert.

"We already know he can really throw the football," Hamilton said, per Jim Trotter of NFL.com. "I haven't coached a quarterback that just had the natural release and spin on the ball that Justin has since Vinny Testaverde—a tall, linear guy, a long-levered guy who really just has a great release and can make all the throws."

While Herbert is the quarterback of the future for the Chargers after they selected him with the No. 6 pick of the 2020 draft, he has not been able to work with the team's coaches in person with offseason activities being conducted virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the things the Oregon product has to work on is dropping back from under center since he worked largely in the shotgun in college.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Chargers are "not going to rush him in there" (h/t Evan Silva of Establish the Run), suggesting veteran Tyrod Taylor could start the season.

Given Hamilton's assessment, though, it may just be a matter of time until the rookie has the starting job.

"I know that he's really smart, physically off the charts, and football is very important to him," the quarterbacks coach said. "He wants more. He wants to know the why in everything you ask him to do. He wants to really understand and digest the conceptual reasoning behind different plays and what the defense is doing."

Herbert threw for 3,471 yards and 32 touchdowns with six interceptions while adding four more scores on the ground in his final collegiate season, which culminated in a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl victory for the Ducks.

He impressed the Chargers enough for them to use a top-10 pick on him. Philip Rivers, who started every game for the organization since the 2006 campaign, is now with the Indianapolis Colts.

It will be up to Hamilton to have Herbert ready for the NFL.