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Evaluating Justin Herbert with Quarterbacks Coach Shane Day
Day describes how this staff and Herbert himself helped take No. 10's game to a new level in 2021 and what else he learned from working with Chase Daniel and Easton Stick.
By Hayley Elwood Feb 09, 2022

2021 is in the rearview and 2022's offseason is here.

With that being said, we thought this would be a good time to check in with some people we don't hear from often: the Chargers position coaches.

Over the next few weeks, we'll break down positions and players from some of those who know them best.

We start with quarterbacks coach Shane Day, where I asked him just a few questions about Justin Herbert. After all, Herbert only casually built on his record-setting rookie year with a stellar sophomore season.

Jokes aside, Day gives a deep dive into working with Herbert, detailing each week's preparation and shares what we might not know about the QB.

He also discusses what Chase Daniel brought to the QB room and what it was like working with Easton Stick.

In his season-ending press conference, general manager Tom Telesco gave props to the coaching staff with Justin Herbert's development calling it a "big lift" in a new system.

Take me back to OTAs or when the ideation of taking his game to a new level in his second season started?

Shane Day: When Brandon Staley assembled the staff, Joe [Lombardi] was hired, I was hired, [run game coordinator/offensive line coach] Frank Smith was hired and a lot of the other offensive coaches, we all got together. But Justin spent a lot of time in the offseason working out, doing all that stuff. We started talking about what we wanted to do this season right off the bat. After I had a chance to come in and watch all his film, we started to put a plan together about how we wanted to approach the season. We started a lot with his individual fundamentals and how he plays quarterback. But as Tom mentioned, we then had to teach him the offense. I was learning him, too. When we went to OTAs, that was a big part of learning the scheme. We did all walkthroughs against the defense where he's having to read the coverages and learn all these new plays, but he wasn't physically doing a lot of it. A lot of that was done on his own. We talked though a lot of his goals through the offseason, and he continued to grow through the entire season.

Justin's talked a lot this season about the importance of preparation. What is that collaboration like, whether it's with you, adding Joe Lombardi, or other offensive coaches and how key is it?

Day: It really all starts with the quarterback room, with Chase [Daniel] and Easton [Stick] and Justin.

MONDAY: When players come in on Monday, we'll review the game film and make any corrections and stuff we want to work on during the week. The coaching staff goes upstairs and starts game planning for the opponent. While that's going on, what Justin, Chase, and Easton do is they get in the quarterback room and they start watching games and breaking down the opponent to understand what kind of fronts, coverages, and blitzes they run.

WEDNESDAY: Then, once we have a gameplan in place – meaning the offensive plays we want to run against that defense – on Wednesday, we collaborate. That's when Joe comes in and he'll put in the game plan on the offensive unit and talk about what's important to the whole group. Then, we'll go into the quarterback room; Joe and I and [offensive quality control coach] Chandler Whitmer, too, and we'll put in the game plan specifically. We'll talk about how we're gonna attack defenses specifically, how the plays will play out, and the reads and progressions we'll go through, and what they'll have to do in the run game.

We put that work in the classroom and then we'll go out [to the field] and walk through it all. In between that time, Justin's learning all the new plays, then we'll go out and walk through them and he's communicating those plays to all the offensive players. And then, he'll go back in to go over what he has to do in practice and make sure he has that stuff down. And then he'll go out and practice, and after practice, we'll work on all of his individual fundamentals and techniques preparation-wise for that game. And then we'll go back in and watch the film after practice and make all the corrections for that day. Then he starts that night and goes through the next phase.

THURSDAY: The next phase is third downs. So the quarterbacks will all grab dinner and sit in there and watch third downs. And then we'll do the same thing, we'll go in, the coaching staff is upstairs game planning third downs, and we'll put them in.

FRIDAY: At the end of the week, after he's done all the practices, Justin will sit in there Friday afternoon and he'll go back and re-watch the whole week of practice and film we've watched of the defense and try to tie it all together before the game so he can go out there and play fast and decisive.



Playing quarterback's really easy in this league, huh?

Day: *laughs* There's a lot of work to it! People on the outside looking in are always asking me what's unique about Justin and [it's that] he's locked in from the moment he comes in after the game is over and we've gone through the film on Monday, and we're over that and on to the next opponent, he is locked in for the entire week. And he is learning, learning, learning at such a high intensity that he is just unbelievable with his preparation. He's taken it to another level to me. It's been really fun to watch because he's just so intense and he's locked in from the moment he steps in the building to learn that stuff and make sure he has it down for Sunday. It's pretty fun to watch.

We know how academically-gifted he is, obviously with what he did at Oregon.

I go back to a conversation I had with a reporter from ESPN who said she was not going to be surprised at his NFL success because she equated the study habits he would use towards his biology classes in college to game prep and game film in the NFL.

It really sounds like that translated; he takes it so seriously.

Day: Yes. And he's not distracted. From whatever time he gets in the building – and it's early – to the time he's out, he is locked in. There are no distractions. He's not messing around. He is learning that stuff inside and out making sure he knows it for the game. When we're in college, we studied stuff to know it for the test, but he is leaning it at a very high level and making sure he has it down pat when we get down there Sunday.

"I think year two in the system is big ... I think we’re both really excited that now for the first time in a long time for him, he gets to stay in the same offense and grow as a quarterback."

Last Justin question for you before we get to Chase and Easton.

He's mentioned footwork and pocket presence as things to work on, but where do you think he can improve in year three in the NFL but year two in this system?

Day: I think year two in the system is big. The first year, you're spending a lot of time learning the terminology and communicating that to your teammates. You're taking that and learning it and spending a lot of time on that stuff learning the offense as opposed to learning how to play quarterback in the offense. I think we're both really excited that now for the first time in a long time for him, he gets to stay in the same offense and grow as a quarterback. It's really just adding experiences to what he's had.

We'll go back through it, watch the cut-ups and talk about lessons we've learned from this season and then we'll go out there in the spring, go against our defense, and really hone in on some of the finer points. He has our offense down, he knows it, he's familiar with it, and now we can talk about how to play quarterback within the offense. It's really exciting!

I know he's really excited. It's hard during the first week after the season is over and it ends and no one's feeling really good about it, but as time goes by and you start thinking and talking about what we're gonna do for next year, we're gonna get so much better because we've been together. The coaching staff has been there, he knows what the expectations are, we know how to communicate better and now, we can go out there and get better at quarterback. That's the fun part, as opposed to learning new plays and terminology.


"I can’t put into words how critical Chase was. He came in right away as the cornerman for the quarterbacks. For Justin, Chase is his cornerman. He’s always making sure he’s good with everything."

Chase Daniel, new addition to the room this year. What did his presence mean to the room and to Justin specifically?

Day: I can't put into words how critical Chase was. He came in right away as the cornerman for the quarterbacks. For Justin, Chase is his cornerman. He's always making sure he's good with everything, he's talking to the coaching staff, he's been in the offense so he can talk about it in a way that I can't as a coach because he's been in it and he can help Justin with that stuff. His preparation, as far as opponent studying, with experience he's had against different opponents, he can share a lot of that expertise with Justin and Easton. He was just great and he was great for me because he's been in the offense with Joe, so I was able to ask questions from a perspective of, 'How did you play this as a player? How do you see these plays playing out?' He was a guy who I could rely on specifically seeing it through the quarterback's eyes.

He was great for me, but he was great for Justin and he was great for Easton. Those guys all really got along well and all helped elevate each other. Chase was outstanding, I can't say enough great things about him. He's great as a person. He's a great football player, a great football mind. He brought a lot of that passionate energy into the room which was great for me as a coach, because when you have guys who love football, it's so much more fun for me to go in there as opposed to when guys are going through the motions. He brought it every day; his passion and intensity for the game, it elevated all of our meetings. On the field he was great, on gameday he was great, he's just outstanding.

Last question, what did you see out of Easton during your first year together?


Day: Easton was impressive because he did all the preparation and treated it like he was the starter. He's a very smart guy. I've known of him since his draft, I was the quarterbacks coach in San Francisco at the time and we'd look at all the quarterbacks and he was a guy I met at the Combine, talked with at the Combine, and a guy I liked a lot. Now getting to work with him on a day-to-day basis is very fun because he's exactly who I thought he was. He loves football, he's passionate about football, he wants to be great and he works at it. We're fortunate because Chandler Whitmer was able to take Easton after practice, when I was working with Justin and Chase, and go through all the plays we ran in practice so he was able to get those reps with backup receivers. So he was able to get a lot better every single week. At the end of the year, you could see all the improvement he's made fundamentally, throwing, knowing the offense, all the timing and rhythm.

He did an outstanding job growing as a backup guy which is hard to do, it's hard simulating all that stuff, everything's kind of geared towards helping the starter and not so much [the backup.] Chandler was able to go out there everyday and help develop him. He put in a lot of time and like I said, he treated it like he was the starter which I think is important to have that intensity. Otherwise, those years can be lost. He did an awesome job. I'm really happy where he's at. Love him, he's awesome.

Take a look back at the best photos of Justin Herbert's record-setting 2021 sophomore campaign.

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