original article published at https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/11/12/justin-herbert-chargers-dolphins-phil-simms/
(CBSLA)- Halfway through the 2020 season, the Chargers don’t have much hope of the playoffs. But, they do have a rookie quarterback that has been the talk of the league for his performances this year.
“He’s not playing well, he’s playing unbelievably well. He’s throwing the ball as accurate as any quarterback in the league right now. He can make every throw look so simple and easy,” said The NFL Today’s Phil Simms in an interview with Ryan Mayer. “He’s one of the few, maybe the only quarterback in the league that can stand in there with pressure around and throw over the top of the defensive front because he’s a true 6’6.”He plays tall. He stands tall and has a high release. He’s a power thrower who makes it look easy.”
Despite Herbert’s play, the team has mustered just one win in his seven starts. It’s hard to put that on the offense however. In each of the team’s last four losses, against the Buccaneers, Saints, Broncos and Raiders, they have held a lead at halftime. In three of those games, the lead was 10 or more points.
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The problem that Simms sees, and it’s one he thinks will bite them again this Sunday against Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins is the simplicity of the defense.
They do very little on the defensive side. He’s (Tua) going to come up and go ‘hmm same defense, same coverage here we go again.’ They’re locked into that. Let’s do one thing and do it really well and be fast,” said Simms. “That’s a great thought in the league right now but that thought, it just doesn’t work anymore. There are too many good players, too many good throwers and catchers. You have to keep moving around and try different things to make it tough on these quarterbacks.”
Simms also expects that the Miami defense may present Herbert with the toughest test that he’ll have this season.
“I don’t think they’ll win this week. Miami’s defense is really good. They’re going to do a lot of stuff that he has not seen yet I’m sure,” said Simms. “This will be maybe his toughest test of the year just because of how good and how clever Miami’s defense can be.”
Regardless of win or loss Sunday, not much changes in the Chargers fate this season. At 2-6, they’re a full three games back of the Raiders, Dolphins Browns and Colts all fighting for the final couple playoff spots. Looking ahead to next season, Simms likes the talent the team has but, notes that the issue of losing big second half leads is one that needs to be fixed.
“They’re close but my gosh, how long have we been saying this about the Chargers? They’re close. Oh, the injuries. They’re the hard luck team of the NFL it seems like every year,” said Simms. “But, the big thing is, when you get double digit leads in the second half, that shows you a lot. You have to be able to hold onto those leads and they have not. That is a definite weakness of the football team. Maybe lack of talent but to me, it’s more about what you’re doing philosophy wise. You have to find ways to close the game out.”