Head coach Brandon Staley explained after the defeat that the decision behind leaving his QB in the game came to be because Herbert "wanted to be out there with his teammates" and "he felt good, and he wanted to finish the game."
A day later, Staley changed his stance a bit.
"It was my decision to put him on the field, but you're talking to your players throughout the game," Staley said, via team transcript. "It definitely was my decision to keep them out there. What I was communicating is the dialogue that took place before that decision was made. When you're in the fire like that, you're always doing things together. All of the decisions that are made out there on that football field go directly through me, and that's why I'm ultimately responsible. I take full responsibility for it. I've tried to communicate that the best way I can."
While Staley said that he doesn't regret his decision in the moment, he stressed a need to improve his communication with the Chargers' young QB.
"In that moment, I stand by what I said at the game, in terms of going through that for the first time with Justin," Staley said. "Like I said earlier, in looking back at it, if I have to do it again, I need to make sure that I communicate to Justin — in a tough circumstance like that, when you're behind — that you have already done enough, and I look forward to that next time. In that moment, I don't regret how we went through that together, but I think the lesson, moving forward, is making sure that he knows, moving forward, that he's already done enough."
Having the face of the franchise play every snap of a lopsided defeat while injured is questionable regardless, but Staley's comments Sunday made it appear that the coach allowed his 24-year-old signal-caller to dictate the decision-making when it comes to his health. Staley's comments on Monday clarified that narrative, but fell short of further explaining what the reasoning was behind letting one of the brightest young arms in the game risk his health in a no-win situation.
Staley's comments come after a day's worth of criticism and amid a rash of bad news for the Chargers, who are coming off a disastrous defeat and have now lost standout left tackle Rashawn Slater for the season due to a ruptured biceps. Joey Bosa could also miss time because of a groin injury.
The Chargers (1-2), predicted by many to contend for the AFC West title and perhaps a Super Bowl this season, will travel to face the Houston Texans on Sunday, looking to shrug off a two-game losing streak as injuries and scrutiny are mounting.