Relationship between Chargers' Jim Harbaugh, Justin Herbert off to rousing start

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The relationship between head coach and quarterback is paramount in today’s quarterback driven NFL. It’s safe to say the rapport between Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Justin Herbert is off to a rousing start.

Harbaugh pumped his fist when he described Herbert at the team’s mandatory minicamp this week.

"He's been incredible. I think it's probably the reaction that everybody has. From my standpoint, I knew he was really good, but you're right up next to him watching where you can feel the way the ball comes out of his hand. When it comes out, it's going a lot faster than you think, than it looks on tape. He's bigger, taller than you'd think watching TV,” Harbaugh said. “The athleticism and strength, really, he could play tight end here. He could play edge rusher here. And the arm talent is even better than advertised. It's an exciting thing. I found myself just sitting at my desk at times, going, 'He's on our team!' You know it's not just in shorts because I've seen him do this in 11-on-11, NFL, padded football games."

Justin Herbert works out during the Chargers' organized team activities at Hoag Performance Center.
Justin Herbert works out during the Chargers' organized team activities at Hoag Performance Center.

The feeling is mutual with Herbert.

“He’s won wherever he’s at. He’s a guy that everyone wants to follow and play for,” Herbert said Thursday. “I’m really excited to get to play for him.”

Harbaugh played quarterback in the NFL for 14 seasons before he went on to be a head coach. Herbert told reporters that Harbaugh’s experience and knowledge as a former NFL QB is advantageous for himself and the other signal callers on the roster.

“For him to come to the quarterback room and share his thoughts, it’s great perspective,” Herbert said of Harbaugh. “He’s done it as a coach and played at a high level for so long. Any advice like that is awesome. It’s great for us. We get to learn from him.”

Harbaugh is Herbert’s third NFL head coach in five seasons after the Chargers fired Brandon Staley last year. The quarterback’s also had to learn multiple offenses now on his fourth offensive coordinator entering his fifth season. He’s hopeful Harbaugh brings some continuity within the organization.

“Ideally that’s the situation. It’s unfortunate that hasn’t been the case here,” Herbert said of the team’s coaching carousel. “All that I can do is be the best quarterback and teammate I can be…We have the opportunity now to work together and make it something bigger than ourselves. I think at the end of the day, that’s the goal.”

Optimism is always at an all-time high for all 32 teams in June, but Herbert and other Chargers star players such Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and Derwin James have all expressed confidence in their new head coach with a proven track record fresh off an NCAA national championship at Michigan. Detailed is a word players used to describe Harbaugh.

“I felt like every year when I tell you things are feeling good and I feel optimistic, it wasn't a lie. But yeah, I think things are definitely, like I said, trending in the right direction. Everybody is on the details,” Bosa said. “I think it just feels like Coach (Harbaugh) is leading the team the way it should be led.”

Harbaugh’s arrival, along with a brand-new facility in El Segundo that the team plans to debut this summer are part of what the Chargers — an organization with just one playoff appearance since Herbert was drafted in 2020 — hope is a new era for the franchise.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon on X @TheTylerDragon.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jim Harbaugh, Justin Herbert off to rousing start with LA Chargers