(CBSLA)- The Los Angeles Chargers said goodbye to franchise legend Philip Rivers this offseason while drafting his likely replacement in Justin Herbert.
However, in what is almost definitely set to be a shortened offseason training cycle, it is unclear whether the rookie quarterback will be ready to take over the reigns on Day 1. Luckily for head coach Anthony Lynn and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, they have a quarterback who has shown himself more than capable of leading a team to wins in the NFL.
“Tyrod Taylor was the best backup in the league and I think he’s going to be a solid starter,” said SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein. “He’s going to turn the ball over a lot less than Philip Rivers did. He went 22-20 with the Bills. I think the Chargers have above average talent at almost every other position except for quarterback. I think Tyrod Taylor can get them to eight or nine wins.”
The 30-year-old Taylor last started in Cleveland in 2018, going 1-1-1 before being knocked out of the lineup and replaced by rookie Baker Mayfield. While his numbers with the Browns don’t inspire confidence, the organization is hoping to see a version of what he did with the Bills in 2015-17.
During those three seasons, Taylor made at least 14 starts each year with a completion percentage above 61 percent while throwing for an average of 2,900-plus yards per season. More importantly, Taylor didn’t turn the ball over much during that time, tossing just 16 picks spread over three seasons.
The supporting cast in L.A. is much better than the group he had around him in Buffalo so, if Taylor does need to start while Herbert continues to learn the offense, Hartstein believes the team should be okay. But, eight or nine wins would put them on the fringe of the playoff race. And, with the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs and (on paper) much improved Broncos in their division, a playoff berth might be hard to come by.