Noted for slow starts in prior seasons, the 49ers have started scorching hot on offense, scoring at least 30 points in each of their appearances in 2023, courtesy of a balanced attack.
While the 49ers’ skill players have continued to excel in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, quarterback Brock Purdy has looked to make strides within his game in Year 2, marked best by his 20/21, 283-yard performance against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4.
Despite the early success and turnover-free play from Purdy, many skeptics are still quick to point out that the quarterback is a product of Shanahan’s quarterback-friendly system.
What does the head coach himself think of that diagnosis?
“That’s pretty ridiculous,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “You’ve just got to watch the tape. He plays at a high level every time he is been out there. And he’s done it in a lot of different situations versus a lot of different defenses, on the road, at home, playoff games, when injured. You can’t do all that stuff, he’s been out there too long. It’s on tape.”
A significant part of Purdy’s success has been the quarterback’s ability to minimize turnovers this season, as he has yet to throw an interception, while maintaining a 72 percent completion rate through four games.
What has impressed Shanahan thus far has been Purdy’s ability to remain playing “free” football and letting it rip, but also minimizing the mistakes that were on film at times during his rookie season.
“Usually guys you can see who are real conscious of that they miss a lot of number one being open. They’re a little hesitant and stuff. And the number one thing is to not turn it over and that is the number one thing in football,” Shanahan said. “But, when you totally think that way and you can tell it’s how your actions are responding you don’t make as many plays and play as freely as [Brock Purdy] does.
“So I think that’s what’s been great about him, that he lets it rip. He rarely hesitates but when it’s not there, he hasn’t just let it rip. He knows when to pull it back, he knows when to progress and try to make a play and that’s the fine line that you want guys who can make plays, but you don’t want guys to keep both teams in the game. So you’ve got to find a way to do both and he’s found that balance very well in all the games he’s played in.”
Earlier this week, Purdy earned some significant praise from New York Jets star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who brushed away the system quarterback claims, calling the 49er a “pretty damn good quarterback”.
Purdy will face his biggest test of the season this weekend when the 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys, who have compiled one of the best scoring defenses this season, at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday Night Football.