The New Orleans Saints defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime when the two teams met on Monday Night Football last October, but that didn't stop Justin Herbert from catching the eye of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
In fact, Brees seems to think that Herbert - who went on to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award - is capable of having a career like he did.
"I've actually been really impressed with him," Brees told Fernando Ramirez of Sports Illustrated. "I can't say I've spent a ton of time with him off the field. Obviously, we played against each other last year, I saw him one other time this offseason and I actually had a chance to just sit in the QB room for a little bit. There's no doubt, I think his physical tools are as good as anybody that I've ever seen. By all accounts, he's a great worker ... he's got great leadership qualities ... he's got a lot of intangibles. So I think the sky is the limit for a guy like him."
Though the plan was for Herbert - the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft - to sit behind Tyrod Taylor for part or all of his rookie season, he was forced into action in Week 2 when Taylor's lung was mistakenly punctured by a team doctor that was giving him an injection to kill pain.
Herbert took the job and ran with it, tossing 31 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, while racking up 4,336 passing yards. Pro Football Focus rated him as the 15th-best quarterback in 2021, ahead of Lamar Jackson and Brees himself.
The second-year quarterback will have his work cut out for him in a division where Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl favorites, and there's quite a bit of talent on both the rosters of the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders. Brees seemed to think that new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, previously the quarterback's coach in New Orleans, will help Herbert to take another step forward in his second season.