Brock Purdy is currently in Phoenix, rehabbing with physical therapist Keith Kocher. While there isn’t any set timeline for Purdy’s return, general manager John Lynch said the 49ers would have a better idea in another 12 weeks.
Lynch didn’t stop there, as he hinted at the possibility of Purdy returning sooner than six months during Monday morning's owner’s meetings: “Our hope is he’s ready to go in training camp.”
That sounds optimistic, but, remember, we can only go based off information we get from others. It’s evident that the 49ers are confident in Purdy as the starting quarterback. Listen to the players whenever his name gets brought up. So, the following quote from Lynch shouldn’t shock anybody:
“He’s probably the leader in the clubhouse. I’ll let Kyle make those kinds of decisions. But I know when we talk, I think Brock has probably earned that right to be the guy. If we were to line up, he’d probably take that first snap.”
There have been a few comparisons to Purdy’s magical run to the NFC Championship last season and Jimmy Garoppolo going 5-0 to finish the 2017 regular season. Some fear the 49ers are making a mistake and crowning Purdy, much like Jimmy, too soon.
But there are a few differences here. One, San Francisco isn’t handing Purdy $137 million. Second, the games Purdy won meant something. There were tangible stakes, and he answered the bell time and time again.
The 49ers have let their actions speak louder than their words when it comes to playing time at a specific position. Lynch said, “we’ve always said, we don’t car where you were drafted, if you were drafted, that’s always been our stance. That’s what we believe in.”
What does all of this mean for Trey Lance? Lynch answered, “I think both things can be true. We’re still very excited about Trey, but I think the way Brock played, he probably earned the right to be the guy. But it’s certainly a competition. We’ll always have that.”
We’ll find out if Brock is healthy enough to make it a competition. There were a few instances where Lynch said, “based on my conversations with Kyle” so it didn’t seem as if he was going rogue.
Lynch was more impressed with how the 49ers were winning:
“He’s done it for part of one year. But the way he did it — not just he did it — but the way he did it gave a lot of confidence to everyone in our building. He earned that.
It really kind of surprised us how adept he was and elusive he was at extending plays but also playing within the system. He did everything well. Is there room for growth? Absolutely, but he’s left us all with a lot of confidence that he’s a real guy and we’re excited about that.”
When your starting quarterback goes undefeated, and you’re scoring points at a higher clip than you ever have, there’s little decision to make as to who should start.
I keep coming back to how much better Purdy will get, and will some of the hidden warts that began to show themselves as the season went along get worse. When Kyle Shanahan is calling the plays, and you have five eligible skill players who can score whenever they touch the ball, there’s little pressure on your quarterback to deliver.
The 49ers infatuation over Purdy isn’t surprising for all the reasons listed above. Everyone’s job was easier with Brock under center. He was a playmaker. He opened up the field, and kept defenses honest. Purdy possessed traits that the Niners simply hadn’t had under Kyle Shanahan.
Brock will start. But when? And how long of a leash will Trey have while Purdy rehabs? Those are the questions I’d ask. We’ll have to play the wait-and-see game.