Arguments about whether Brock Purdy is an MVP candidate often come off as hollow and rarely offer any substance. We’re ignoring how Purdy has elevated an offense.
If you’ve been reading this site, you know that we weren’t quick to crown Purdy this offseason as we wanted to see him pick up where he left off from last year. Well, it didn’t take long for the 23-year-old to do so. From using the entire field to throwing the ball deep, Purdy has helped maximize this offense.
He’s used his legs and mobility — in most cases by necessity — to help keep the offense on the field. But head coach Kyle Shanahan explained how Purdy’s top trait isn’t anything physical:
“I mean, I think that’s stuff that he does very naturally. I think that’s the talent in Brock that you can’t always judge. I think vision and stuff is very important and doesn’t just go into like, is he 20/20? There’s different types of vision of like looking outside, wide coming in, like just the words I never know. But, it’s a big deal how your eyes see things.
I think Brock recognizes stuff and the speed of things and levels and he knows the hole and the defenders and what they should defend. But it’s always like, there’s a progression. It’s like, ‘yeah, this play’s going to go to here,’ but that guy might not do his job. So you’ve got to feel that, make sure if he does his job, we’re going to number two.
That’s what he usually does. Brock went to number one, which hadn’t been there on tape, but he wasn’t backing up and we had a fast guy in the slot and you better back up. He hesitated a little bit and Brock saw that. So he doesn’t memorize and guess, he kind of sees it and reacts and that’s the coolest thing about him.”
Shanahan continued, and used himself as an example to help illustrate what Purdy is doing:
“That’s how everything is. There’s always a progression, but you might call a play where this guy’s number one in the progression but the coverage that they play he’s never open. So you should see he’s covered and that means number two is open. But if you get that coverage and you just go right to number two and he’s covered, you can’t go back to number one. So, you’ve got to verify things. I mean, if I got in there and played quarterback,
I wouldn’t know anything that’s going on. I’d memorize coverages and I would try to program before and be like, ‘all right, I think it’s this, let me go to number three.’ Then you get fooled and once you try to come back to number one, you’re throwing picks or getting sacked. So it’s knowing what’s going on, but also still playing the game and trying not to get overwhelmed with coach talk or film and all that. You’ve got to be in a pocket and read things and react. That’s why it’s really tough to play the position.”
That may or may not have been a shot at a previous quarterback, even if Shanahan didn’t know he was doing it. Brock goes into a play and lets the defense tell him what to do. Whereas some may pre-determine what they’re going to do based on the play-call.
Finally, here’s Shanahan talking about the difference between Purdy and Matt Ryan:
“Yeah, everybody gets better with reps. Matt was a lot more comfortable the second year definitely than the first year. But, I think one thing that was harder for Matt is that I think I got there his eighth year, and he had played for like six different coordinators. So there’s a lot more football in his head. So you go through stuff and Brock was a pretty clean slate. Brock was always just doing the offense and learning and reacting and playing like he’s always played. It’s different when you do a lot more schemes before you get with someone.”
So, since Purdy didn’t have to digest multiple other NFL offenses, it sounds like that’s helped him become a sponge under Shanahan.