The Los Angeles Chargers didn't seem anywhere close to starting rookie Justin Herbert at quarterback in the lead-up to the 2020 NFL season, long touting veteran Tyrod Taylor as their No. 1 and seemingly planning on Herbert using his first pro season as an unofficial redshirt campaign. One game into the 2020 season, however, those plans have been thrown out the window. When the Chargers took the field for their first drive against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, it was Herbert, not Taylor, under center making the first start of his career.
L.A. did not announce a QB change prior to Sunday's Week 2 matchup, but several reports have since indicated Taylor actually suffered a chest injury that left him questionable for the divisional game. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Taylor's injury came after pre-game warm-ups but before opening kickoff, resulting in a sudden promotion for Herbert.
It's also possible the Chargers simply wanted to keep Herbert's rise to QB1 duties a secret. It's unclear, for example, how Taylor managed to sustain that serious of a chest injury in the limited moments between warm-ups and kickoff. There's also the fact the 31-year-old Taylor struggled mightily in L.A.'s close season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals, in which the veteran completed just 53 percent of his passes against a battered Bengals defense.
Herbert, 22, was drafted sixth overall by the Chargers in April. The Oregon product was a consensus top QB prospect of the 2020 class, although many consider him to be among the rawest of the rookie signal-callers, hence expectations for Herbert to spend most of the year learning behind Taylor.