The Los Angeles Chargers wrapped up a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, winning with a dominant performance from Khalil Mack, and a game-sealing interception from Asante Samuel Jr. However, not all was well as superstar quarterback Justin Herbert suffered an injury to his left hand.
The Justin Herbert Injury Could Be A Massive Problem For the Chargers
As of this posting, we still do not know the severity of Herbert’s injury. From what was shown on the broadcast, Herbert had his finger stuck in the face mask of a Raiders defender, during the return of his lone interception. This caused Herbert to be led to the blue tent for further evaluation, as he was in pain.
The evaluation process took a while, and speculation is that he got stitches during that time. The former Oregon star also came out with a splint and a wrap, and later he put on a glove after the failed drive after the injury.
The Chargers are lucky to have their bye week next week, giving some of the Charger stars like Joey Bosa, Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and Derwin James another week of rest. There is a very realistic chance that the Chargers starting quarterback will come back in Week 6 perfectly fine. Number ten knows how to play with injuries as well as anyone.
With all of this being said, what does Justin Herbert’s injury mean for the Los Angeles Chargers as a whole?
As basic as it is, the core of playing quarterback is being able to handle the ball and get it to your playmakers, whether that is simply giving it to the running back or throwing it down the field to your receivers.
An injury to the hand you grip the football with highly impacts the way you are able to hand the ball off, take the snap, and will affect general ball security. However, Herbert showed some positive signs by the end of the game that he was able to take a sack without fumbling and hand the ball off to his teammates in the backfield.
The fact of the matter is that a serious Justin Herbert injury will impact how defenses play the Chargers and limit what the team is able to do offensively. Something as easy as going under center for Herbert will now likely not be in the fold. Just look at the final plays of the game. In victory formation, he lined up in shotgun to ensure he did not reinjure his finger. This along with Herbert being forced to be resigned to tosses, pitches, and handoffs with his right hand may really tip off the defense what the Kellen Moore-led offense is going to do.
Being forced into strictly shotgun with your starting center out is going to be tough for this offense. It completely limits the run game, and essentially takes traditional under-center runs out of the playbook. Losing Corey Linsley is tough, but especially now with Justin Herbert’s injury, it is even more brutal. Expect Moore to change up the offense in week six after the bye, using the time to create new schemes that will help the banged-up Herbert.
We would expect a lot more zone runs, run-pass options, and toss plays, all things you can do from the shotgun. We would also expect a lot more quick passes, getting the ball out of Herbert’s hand as soon as possible, a game plan reminiscent of the Charger’s win over the Vikings.
Can the Chargers Survive A Justin Herbert Injury
As mentioned earlier, we still don’t know just how severe this injury is. The latest news as of the time of writing this article is this quote from Herbert, when asked about his injury by Daniel Popper: “It is but a scratch. Just a flesh wound.” When asked if the injury is actually a flesh wound or if he was quoting Monty Python, Herbert said, “That was just a quote.”
Justin Herbert on his finger: “It is but a scratch. Just a flesh wound.”
When asked if the injury is actually a flesh wound or if he was quoting Monty Python, Herbert said, “That was just a quote.”
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 2, 2023
Herbert will have a week of rest and a week of scheming from the coaching staff to help him sustain success on the field. Herbert has played through worse and should be just fine, giving us highlights like we’re used to. Just look at the throw down the sideline to Joshua Palmer to seal the game, doing so with his injury.
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