Anthony Lynn has defended Tyrod Taylor as his 2020 starting quarterback since long before the Los Angeles Chargers opened the season. He did it again Sunday after first-round pick Justin Herbert made a promising last-minute debut against the Kansas City Chiefs, filling in for Taylor after the latter experienced abrupt chest pains prior to kickoff. Now, amid questions about Herbert's chances of supplanting Taylor as the full-time starter, Lynn has doubled down on his decision to keep the veteran atop the depth chart, telling reporters this week that Herbert is "a backup for a reason."
"The young man stepped up, and I thought he played well under the circumstances," Lynn explained Monday. "He could've made some different decisions here and there, but I thought he stepped up when we needed him to and gave us a chance. If Tyrod's not available, (I think) we can win with him ... But there's a lot that you don't know. There's a lot that we didn't get done with Justin on the field. He's a backup for a reason. He's a rookie. And there's a lot that he needs to learn about this game."
To be fair, Lynn balanced his opinions of both Herbert and Taylor pretty evenly, adding that he's "perfectly content" if Herbert is forced to start a second straight game while Taylor recovers from chest pains: "I know we can win with either quarterback."
It's clear, however, he at least prefers to publicly give off the impression that Taylor remains far and away the No. 1 option for the Chargers under center. That might be out of respect to Taylor, who has a shared history with Lynn and entered the year as a virtual lock to play over Herbert for much of the season. It might be because Herbert genuinely has room for improvement after his first career start. In both of those scenarios, though, there's a case to be made that Taylor just as much deserves to be crowned "a backup for a reason," and that Herbert -- the club's big investment as the sixth overall pick in April -- deserves that No. 1 job.