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NFL Week 5: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert is your NFL MVP, and Brandon Staley is your Coach of the Year

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) gestures on the line of scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The headline above doesn't contain two separate statements because these results just don’t happen independently of one another.

After only five games together, the Los Angeles Chargers first-year head coach and second-year quarterback have displayed the type of symbiotic relationship of freedom and trust that traditionally takes years to build. 

And this dynamic partnership is not just leading to individual honors, as the Chargers are an AFC West-leading 4-1, even though their opponents — the Football Team, Cowboys, Chiefs, Raiders and Browns — a combined 13-7 in games not against Staley's squad.

This is a top-five team in the NFL any way you want to slice it, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The reason? The two men in the most important positions for the Chargers are no flukes.

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Justin Herbert

The gangly 6-foot-6, 225-pound Oregon quarterback firmly put himself on NFL radars around the country when he put together a 77.2 overall grade as a true freshman in 2016. And when that lept to a 90.5 overall grade in an injury-shortened 2017, he became the consensus top quarterback prospect headed into the 2018 season.

However, that was a title that would quickly fade. With duds against Washington, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon State in 2018, Herbert decided to return to Oregon. 

JUSTIN HERBERT: COLLEGE GRADES AND RANK AMONG FBS QUARTERBACKS (2016-2019)
Season PFF grade Rank
2019 82.7 24 of 147
2018 76.6 47 of 154
2017 90.5 5 of 161
2016 77.2 33 fo 145

Click here to view Justin Herbert's college career in
PFF's College Premium Stats

Even with quite comfortably the most impressive physical tools of any quarterback in the 2020 draft class, Herbert would never regain that QB1 standing and even got passed up for QB2 come draft day.

That was an evaluation many would quickly come to regret.

Herbert earned a 79.9 overall grade as a rookie and shattered just about every rookie passing record last season. Despite that, many predicted a possible regression. His 77.1 PFF grade under pressure was the highest we’d ever seen from a rookie and unsustainably high even by the elite NFL quarterbacks' standards. 

Through five weeks, that predicted regression is nowhere to be found. He’s made up for any slight dip in pressured passing by turning into a stone-cold killer from a clean pocket, earning a 91.3 PFF grade on such plays.

The scary thing is that even though Herbert has been statistically dominant, with 13 passing touchdowns and a 104.7 passer rating, those numbers should look even better. He’s had the fourth-most total drops (13) and air yards dropped (104) of any quarterback in the NFL. He has also had 53 more passing yards called back via penalty (147) than any other quarterback in the NFL.

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