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Kyle Shanahan explains why he has confidence in Sam Darnold

Christian McCaffrey’s scouting report about Darnold was glowing this past offseason

San Francisco 49ers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Here’s NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport Thursday on Thursday morning discussing how 49ers Sam Darnold has a chance to resurrect his career against the Bengals:

“He didn’t look right, and those decisions didn’t make sense. You learn that he may have been battling a concussion, it makes a little more sense.

Sam Darnold looked really good in camp. He beat out Trey Lance. There’s a reason they kept him over Trey Lance. I’m suddenly really interested in this game because we are going to see the Sam Darnold who is trying to resurrect his career. He might make a case for it this Sunday.”

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday afternoon that he is plenty confident in Darnold’s abilities:

“I have as much confidence in Sam as I could have with someone that I haven’t gone into a real NFL game with. He was great in the offseason. He’s been great here in these seven weeks so far, and he’s always ready to go.

He’s great in the meetings and stuff. He doesn’t get many reps, as no backups do, but he does it well on the scout team, he’s always good in the meetings. We got mainly walk-through today, so Brock’s allowed to do some of the walk-through. We’ve got a couple periods that aren’t, so Sam will get those periods.”

Much has been made about Darnold’s career...shortcomings...and how he’s performed in the past. But Darnold hasn’t been afforded the opportunity to throw to Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. If it is Darnold, he’ll have a familiar face in the backfield in Christian McCaffrey.

During the offseason, McCaffrey provided a scouting report on Darnold from their time in Carolina:

“He can do everything. He can make every throw. He’s smart. He’s able to pick up things quickly and do his job. Doesn’t play beyond anything, does exactly what he’s told all the time, and adds a lot of flare to it, too. He’s tough as hell. His toughness for me is something he doesn’t get enough credit for.”

Next, we’ll go over how Darnold can learn from Brock Purdy, if he is indeed ruled out, in Sunday’s game. We’ll also highlight how Brock played well enough Monday night where this isn’t an audition for Darnold to take over as the starter.

Shanahan won’t give Darnold anything that he can’t handle. If Darnold is called upon and plays within himself, the offense will be fine. The 49ers are hoping to get the version of Darnold that doesn’t go rogue.