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Instant Analysis: Easton Stick to Start Thursday Against Raiders

Stick

The Chargers announced that quarterback Justin Herbert will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a fracture to his right index finger.

He will be placed on Injured Reserve, meaning he will miss the next four regular-season games.

Let's state the obvious here: that is tough news for Herbert and the Bolts.

Even though the Chargers have had a disappointing season to date, Herbert has been a bright spot in his fourth season.

He's a team captain and a leader for a reason and can complete throws that almost no other person on Earth can make.

But the reality is that Herbert's fractured finger on his throwing hand is too serious and too painful to play through.

That means a first chance for Stick to show what he can do as a starter starting Thursday night against Las Vegas.

The Bolts have always been high on Stick, and there's a reason they brought him back as a free agent this past offseason to be Herbert's backup.

He was a winner in college with 49 career victories at North Dakota State, where he led the Bison to a pair of national titles as a starter.

That success led him to be a fifth-round pick in 2019. And even though he might have attempted just one pass in a regular season game before Sunday, he's earned the respect and trust of the building over the past few years by running the scout team.

"I have all the confidence in the world. He gives us a great look every week," Derwin James, Jr. said. "When he got in the game, you've seen the throws that he was able to make, some of the plays he was able to make.

"I have all of the confidence in him," James added. "We're going to be behind him and have his back, as a defense."

Sebastian Joseph-Day added: "I have nothing but full confidence in Easton Stick. The looks that he gives us week-in and week-out are amazing. He's confident. He's poised. He knows the offense like the back of his hand. He's honestly a great, great quarterback."

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Monday that Stick has improved "in all ways as a quarterback" over the past few seasons.

Staley noted that most of that progression has been mechanically, as Stick put noticeably more zip on the ball Sunday against Denver.

Stick's football IQ has always been there and it's something that he'll lean on when he faces the Raiders in two days.

"He's really sharp. He studies, he's a gym rat, and he gives you that dimension with his legs," Staley said. "That's important with your backup quarterback, that you have that element of mobility, because you know that teams are probably going to pressure and stuff like that.

"To have a guy that is smart and that can move, it gives you a chance," Staley added.

With Herbert out for the remainder of the regular season, Stick has a golden opportunity to prove that he belongs in the league as a high-quality quarterback.

And there's no doubt he and the offense will be motivated to play well on the road in Week 15.

Take a look back at the Chargers Week 14 game against the Broncos in monochrome

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