At this point in the offseason, all most of us can do is look forward to what hopefully ends up being a full-fledged 2020 NFL season. We all want to imagine success for our team and what celebrations will come with a new campaign. That’s why team predictions become such a hot commodity at this time. Aside from guessing which teams win X amount of games, it’s much more challenging to predict not just which players will have a good year, but actually putting pen to paper and predicting their actual statistical success.
Maurice Moton, one of the NFL writers over at Bleacher Report, needed to scratch that terrible itch for seeing the future and took his shot at predicting how each NFL quarterback will fare this coming season. For the Chargers, being in a special position where we might see two different QBs during the season, Moton gave us a double-dip and predicted the final stat line for both Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert. For simplicity’s sake, he highlighted Tyrod for the Chargers’ portion of the article, and chipped-in Herbert’s numbers, alone.
And here they are.
Projected Stats (Taylor): 302 completions, 479 attempts, 3,503 yards, 23 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 87 carries, 531 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns
Projected Stats (Herbert): 263 completions, 429 attempts, 2,984 yards, 20 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 34 carries, 251 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
“Taylor hasn’t thrown for more than 3,035 yards in a single term,” said Moton. “Nonetheless, he could post a new career high in that category with his supporting cast.”
“While Taylor becomes familiar with his perimeter threats, he can toss short passes to Ekeler out of the backfield. The 25-year-old caught 92 passes for 993 yards and eight touchdowns as a strong component of the aerial attack in 2019.”
Tyrod Taylor finds Antonio Callaway for SIX! pic.twitter.com/BCWPGQ7PWL— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 16, 2018
I’ll tell you guys what, if Tyrod were to hit those types of numbers, I don’t know how this team wouldn’t be wildly successful. Truly, if he gets even near those, this team is winning at least three to four more games than they did in 2019. Imagine Rivers’ last year, but he threw one quarter of the interceptions and chipped in seven rushing scores. The point differential would swing wildly in the other direction.
Remember, this defense was actually really good last year despite some of the big plays allowed due to missed tackles. They didn’t allow a ton of passing yards and held teams under 100 yards rushing in over half their contests. If you take away a chunk of those plays were the Bolts handed the ball back to the opponent, some of those close losses would likely have been not so close wins. The margin of error is so small and Tyrod has consistently found a way to stay away from those errors that simply thrust all the momentum in the opposing team’s arms.
“If not now, then when will Taylor shed the game-manager label?” Moton rightfully ponders. “With experience in the system, he should put up his best passing numbers yet, assuming Herbert remains the backup.”
Th author is correct here. If Tyrod can’t set career-highs across the board with this team’s offensive firepower, than he might never shake the less-than-ideal reputation he has gained during his years as a professional.
Understandably, if Herbert were to start the season, we would not expect the same type of output, both passing and rushing, as we might from Tyrod. Herbert was careful with the ball all throughout college and you’d expect some of that to translate, but six interceptions for a less-than-perfect rookie Qb just doesn’t compute. If Herbert were to throw six his entire first season at the helm, it would be miraculous. Just under 3,000 yards passing is also somewhat realistic, with Herbert averaging around 186 yards per game. He’ll certainly take his lumps and may have one or two good days off-set by some pretty poor outings, but that’s to be expected.
Overall, I like Moton’s expectations for both quarterbacks. That potential 2020 season for Tyrod would be astronomically important for the Chargers. This year’s success could very well be decided on how well the defense compliments Tyrod’s ability to keep them off the field for any longer than they have to be. Both sides must take advantage of the opportunity in front of them and take care of what they can control. If they do that, I’m not promising another 12-4 season, but a chance at a division title and a potential wild-card spot would certainly be in the cards.