NFL Films producer Greg Cosell gave us two examples of how Brock Purdy took the 49ers offense to higher levels with him under center as opposed to Jimmy Garoppolo. Cosell also provided a couple of areas where the rookie needed to improve.
The not-so-forgotten quarterback on the Niners roster is Trey Lance, who is turning out to be more polarizing than Jimmy G despite rarely playing. Here are Cosell’s thoughts about Lance:
I would struggle to give a true evaluation of him based on the amount that he’s played. I guess the question I would have about Lance, and this is based on a gut reaction based on what the film shows because I don’t know that there’s enough film.
But the question I would have is I’m anxious to see if he sees it quickly enough. There are coaches that think you can coach that. And there are other coaches that will tell you, ‘hey, If a guy doesn’t see it real well, that just may be the way he is.’
Every pass play has a route progression. A concept with a progression based on an anticipated defense. There’s a difference between pre-determination and anticipation.
That’s just a question I have about Lance. Again, not that I’ve seen that he’s been bad at it. But I’m very curious to see him do that as he progresses.
Cosell has a fair assessment, and it’s more about Lance showing that he can process what the defense is doing than anything.
Purdy was excellent in terms of getting the ball out on time and to the correct receiver. That’s where his experience at the college level showed up the second he stepped onto the field against Miami.
Lance is in the infancy stages of his quarterback career. And another season without getting live reps to develop and fine tune his skill set only makes those of us on the outside more skeptical.
Cosell was asked whether he believes Purdy is a better fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense than Lance:
“Well then you get into those traits. Lance has a bigger arm. Lance is more mobile. Does that automatically mean he’s more mobile? No. But he does have those things over Brock Purdy. Maybe Purdy is a better eliminator and isolator. We don’t know that yet.
Purdy, for the most part, did that well later in the season. Not as well as he did through the first five games. It’s counterintuitive. You would think that the more he played...He missed throws.
I work with a guy on the [ESPN] matchup show, Kevin Foley. He would come into my area and say, ‘I’m watching Purdy. These throws are there. Kyle must be going nuts.’ The throws are there, and he wasn’t throwing it.
When a quarterback doesn’t make throws that are there, I can’t answer that. But that’s something there’s no metric for. I can’t answer why he didn’t cut it loose, let’s discount the Eagles game, but there were two previous games where he left some throws on the field that were there. That were designed.”
That was the second time during the interview where Cosell mentioned Purdy missing throws. To me, if we’re only speaking about on the field tendencies, that was a reason the 49ers moved on from Garoppolo.
So if it’s an issue with Purdy, it may give Lance the upper hand, provided both players are healthy. But as Cosell mentioned, Lance has to prove he can see the field and hit wide receivers on time.
If Trey does and continues to ascend to the player the 49ers thought they were drafting at No. 3 overall, the 49ers will be right back in the NFC Championship next season.