Former quarterbacks have always flooded the media markets covering the league. With social media, that presence has only increased, including plenty of former signal callers with very little success at the professional level. Dan Orlovsky is the offensive guru on ESPN’s NFL Live. Kurt Benkert has found a niche market on Twitter and Twitch. Their expertise developed from being in an NFL meeting room is worth our attention.
That includes former Niner JT O’Sullivan, who now runs The QB School. His aim is to inform viewers how the pros watch film by providing the highest level of analysis. His claims include playing in more offenses than any quarterback in the history of the league (11 organizations, although he was only ever on the active roster for four).
We know Brock Purdy has been the hot topic of conversation regarding the evaluation of quarterback play recently (really the whole season). So what does JT think? He recently shared his thoughts in a near hour breakdown of Purdy’s week 14 performance that can be found here:
In case you don’t want to watch the full film study, here are some tidbits that stood out:
6:33 - We are two throws into the analysis and things have been “gnarly”. Purdy wasn’t as sharp in the beginning of the game, but JT acknowledges that and states how impressive it was for the offense to “hang tough” and turn it around after a cold start.
6:47 - A play and throw JT calls “outstanding”. With 0:52 left in the 1st quarter, Purdy hits Aiyuk on a “spray glance” on first and ten that travels in the air 21 yards and gives the Niners a big chunk play to get out of their own end zone. It’s no surprise to JT that Purdy makes the play by showing great anticipation. He has a great base and perfect ball placement.
8:38 - The interception at the start of the second quarter. It doesn’t look like a great throw or decision by Purdy, but JT points out the issues with the play. There was likely some miscommunication, and he guesses it was the incorrect route by Aiyuk as Purdy throws with anticipation to a different spot. Aiyuk has a hook but takes a “funky stem” and pushes further outside than Purdy was expecting.
JT mentions here that the double-edged sword to Shanahan’s system is that it requires absolute precision. Any deviation from what’s been repped could lead to disaster.
13:50 - The second quarter touchdown throw from Purdy to Samuel to take the lead. It’s third and 11 and Purdy throws an “absolute dot”. Not only is the pass perfect, but JT describes Purdy’s vision as world-class. As Purdy drops back, it looks like he wants to work the deep hook to Jennings on the short side of the field. But he notices the Seattle safety playing shallow and leaving a slight void that he trusts Deebo will run into. I think most 49ers fans will agree with JT here, that this is the difference between Purdy and other quarterbacks that have run the system. He isn’t afraid to push the ball vertically. As JT puts it, this is not just operating within the system, it is elevating the system. This wasn’t necessarily the design of the play, and even Samuel mentioned he didn’t expect to get the ball. But Purdy saw enough to give him the confidence to launch it. Boom. Touchdown.
Trent Williams on Brock Purdy: "He doesn't check the ball down."— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) December 12, 2023
Exhibit A: Jennings open for an easy first down; Purdy goes late-read to Deebo Samuel for the 54-yard TD pic.twitter.com/VJiXFmZjjM
21:42 - One of the few times in this game where Purdy wasn’t on the same page with his receiver. It’s third and eight right after the two-minute warning. Deebo runs a shallow post and the ball is behind him. The space is there for a completion, but again, when there is discrepancy in how routes are run, and you have a quarterback like Purdy that throws with great anticipation, these results can happen.
26:40 - Late in the third quarter it is still a 14-10 game and Purdy makes magic happen. After a seven-step drop, there really isn’t anywhere for the quarterback to throw to on first and ten. Purdy escapes the pocket with pressure coming up the middle and rolls to his left. Then he delivers maybe his best pass of the day, connecting with Aiyuk for a massive gain. This ball should be on all the highlight reels for Purdy’s season. It’s an excellent job of running the ‘fire drill’ after a play breaks down.
Having a quarterback that is capable and willing to create out of structure is something we haven’t had in San Francisco in so long. Purdy does a great job of that here by flipping his hips, keeping his vision focused downfield and throwing with tremendous accuracy. JT goes into more detail on how he overcomes a play design that maybe wasn’t successful from the jump.
There are several key factors to Purdy being able to keep the play alive, including some one-on-one work from Colton McKivitz and George Kittle in pass protection.
35:16 - Touchdown number two for the day. We’re at the start of the 4th quarter and JT tells us what he loves so much about this game film. Not only are the play designs masterfully crafted, but Purdy has showcased all the throws. This specific pass to Kittle had to be in that sweet spot between on a rope and not too much air underneath to work. It gets brought up all the time that Purdy throws with great touch and knows how to layer the ball between levels of defenders and that’s on display here.
43:56 - To ice the game, Purdy hits Kittle on a deep out that really exploited the poor play from Seattle’s secondary. They allowed too much space in a third and long situation and paid for it. JT describes Purdy’s arsenal of throws as “all the clubs” (except for the driver - which he brought up earlier in the breakdown on a completion to Aiyuk. He thinks Purdy could have taken a shot further to Kittle but doesn’t attack the decision. He declares Purdy as the best intermediate thrower in the league.
JT ends his analysis by stating Purdy is doing damn near everything to be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but thinks there is another level he can reach if he adds that deep-deep in structure throw, especially to corners/flags/pylons that are past the numbers, toward the sideline. He reiterates that he believes Purdy can do this but hasn’t put enough of it on film consistently.
So there you have it. Not only is Purdy putting up the gaudy stats worthy of elite company, at least one analyst has provided the video context for one of the performances in his historic season as well.
Put that in your group chat debates and online arguments with strangers the next time a hater tries to diminish Purdy’s accomplishments. I highly recommend checking out the full video and all of JT’s work on YouTube or over at The QB School.