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Anthony Lynn says a healthy Tyrod Taylor will keep starting quarterback job

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert scrambles against the Chiefs defense.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert did his share of scrambling in place of injured Tyrod Taylor against the Kansas City Chiefs.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn reiterated Monday that Tyrod Taylor will remain the team’s starting quarterback, if he’s fully healthy.

Even with Justin Herbert’s performance Sunday, Lynn explained that his reasoning is as simple as reading the numbers on a scoreboard.

“I know what to expect from him and what he’s going to get done,” Lynn said. “If Tyrod can’t go and we have to go with Justin, I am perfectly content with that. I know we can win with either quarterback.

“But the veteran quarterback right now gives us the best chance to win. It’s not like we won the damn game [Sunday]. We lost last time I checked.”

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Taylor was unable to play in a 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City after he experienced trouble breathing before the game.

With Tyrod Taylor sitting because of a chest injury, rookie Justin Herbert shines in his first start as the Chargers lose to the Chiefs, 23-20, in overtime.

Herbert, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft, replaced him right before the opening kickoff and finished 22 of 33 for 311 yards and a touchdown in a debut that sent a buzz through the league.

Still, Lynn suggested Herbert’s production helped mask his current grasp of the offense and where he is in his development.

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“I’m really excited about Justin,” Lynn said. “That’s why we took him at six. I think he’s going to be an outstanding quarterback. But I want to put him out there when I know he’s ready.”

Taylor spent part of Sunday afternoon at the hospital being evaluated after experiencing complications from a pregame injection for a rib injury.

He appeared briefly on the Chargers’ injury report Friday because of the rib problem but was removed after participating fully in practice.

While saying that Taylor is “doing fine” and “recovering well,” Lynn added that it was too early Monday to determine the 10th-year quarterback’s status for Sunday, when the Chargers play Carolina at SoFi Stadium.

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“I’ll know more later,” Lynn said. “But right now I don’t have enough information.”

Behind Herbert, the Chargers opened a 17-6 third-quarter lead on the Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions. The Chargers led 17-9 late in the quarter and were driving toward points that could have made the margin two scores.

The Chargers lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs in overtime, but L.A. rookie Justin Herbert performed well in his first NFL start, which was a surprise to all.

But, on second and two at the Kansas City 39-yard line, a rolling-out Herbert chose to not run for the first down despite having the necessary space. Instead, he looked over the middle and lofted a deep pass that was intercepted.

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Lynn had preached leading up to the game that avoiding turnovers and creating takeaways would be a key against the Chiefs. The interception ended up being the lone turnover of the day, and, not even three minutes later, Kansas City converted the interception into a touchdown that led to a 17-17 tie.

“That would have been huge,” Lynn said. “But he made the mistake. He will learn from it.”

Those are the kinds of errors Taylor has avoided in a career marked by taking few chances and generally managing the game. Lynn also explained that, because of Herbert’s inexperience and the limited practice opportunities that are available to backups, the Chargers had to simplify their offense Sunday.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I thought what Justin did … I thought he came in and gave us a chance to win. But there’s a lot that you don’t know that we didn’t get done with Justin on the field. He’s a backup for a reason. He’s a rookie, and there’s a lot that he needs to learn about this game.”

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The Chargers nearly pulled off an upset over the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs thanks, in part, to limiting Kansas City’s ability to pull off big plays.

The situation with Taylor is similar to 2018, when he was the starter for Cleveland for the first three games before suffering a concussion. The Browns’ first-round rookie quarterback, Baker Mayfield, replaced him and Taylor never started again.

“All I know in Cleveland was Baker came on and they didn’t win a lot of football games,” Lynn said of a Browns team that went 7-7 after the quarterback switch.

Asked about a young quarterback learning from the sidelines, Lynn said the situation offers “a huge benefit.” He also noted how John Elway and Peyton Manning both started as rookies.

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“They took a lot of abuse,” Lynn said. “But those guys are strong-minded. They overcame it, and they’re Hall of Famers. Not every quarterback can do that. I’m not saying that Justin can’t. If we have to go with Justin, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. But right now Tyrod Taylor hasn’t done anything to lose his job. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t on the field.”

Unhappy King

Desmond King made it clear on social media that he is not happy with the way he has been used two games into the season. After the loss Sunday, King’s verified Twitter account featured a post that read: “I’ll continue to do my job but I’m going to need answers real soon.”

Another post read: “Is there a reason I’m not on the field? Some people want to know.”

As of early Monday afternoon, Lynn said he hadn’t spoken to King but was “disappointed” in the fourth-year defensive back going public to express his frustrations.

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“I think everyone in our building knows if they need answers where to go get those answers,” Lynn said. “They might not like the answer they get. But they know where to go get it.”

King, an All-Pro in 2018, has played 59% of the Chargers’ defensive snaps through two weeks.

Etc.

The Chargers lost right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), safety Rayshawn Jenkins (groin) and defensive tackle Justin Jones (shoulder) against the Chiefs. Lynn had no precise updates but indicated Jones’ injury likely is the most significant. … Free-agent safety Jahleel Addae, who played for the Chargers from 2013-18, will visit the team this week about a possible return.


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