COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — When Justin Herbert looks back at his rookie season with the Los Angeles Chargers, his biggest mistake might not be any of the interceptions or a fourth-quarter play he would like to have back. It could very well be allowing a strength and conditioning coach to cut his hair.
Herbert displayed a new haircut during his weekly availability Wednesday, shedding his wavy locks for a buzzcut. It didn’t take long for the reviews to flow in on social media.
In a year in which Herbert hasn’t made many missteps, the quarterback’s new look attracted plenty of attention. Comments ranged from people posting their worst haircut pictures to how much younger it made the 22-year old Herbert look.
“I wasn’t looking for anything fancy. I was just looking for someone to trim it down,” he said.
Herbert said he isn’t superstitious and it wasn’t done in hopes of snapping the Chargers’ three-game losing streak Sunday against the winless New York Jets. Instead, he said it was simply time after letting it grow for at least two years.
“It might look like I am doing it out of superstition, but honestly it was getting too long,” he said.
Instead of opting for a barber, John Lott was at the clippers after Lott said he was pretty good at cutting hair.
One person who understood using Lott instead of a barber, especially with the league’s strict COVID-19 protocols, is Jets coach Adam Gase.
“I know there’s a lot of us that are a little shaggy right now,” he said. “But, you know, you’re doing what you got to do to push through this and kind of stay within the guidelines.”
The Chargers are hoping that the haircut doesn’t have a Samson-type effect on Herbert, who is one of the leading contenders for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is the first rookie quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns in six straight games and is averaging 291.6 yards passing per game, fifth in the league.
No one will complain though if Herbert can bounce back from Sunday’s 29-21 loss at Miami, where he looked very much like a rookie. Herbert had his worst performance to date, going 20 for 32 for 187 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. It was the first time in eight starts that Herbert had passed for less than 250 yards.
If Herbert can throw for a touchdown on Sunday, he would tie George Ratterman as the fourth-fastest player to throw 20 TD passes in NFL history. Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Kurt Warner did it in eight games.
The Jets defense is ranked 29th against the pass, but coordinator Gregg Williams likes bringing plenty of pressure packages. New York rushes five or more on 36.6% of its defensive snaps, which is eighth in the league.
Herbert and the Chargers offense struggled last week in recognizing when the Dolphins disguised coverages.
“We’ve got to be better at finding the check downs and being prepared,” Herbert said. “We have to learn from it and get better having gone through it.”
NOTES: DE Joey Bosa has been cleared from concussion protocol and was a full participant in practice after missing the past two games. … CB Chris Harris, who has missed the past six games because of a foot injury, did some work during the team individual period.
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