Lance v. Purdy has been the headline of the card we’ve seen for the San Francisco 49ers quarterback battle, but don’t count out Sam Darnold. Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Martz isn’t, in fact he thinks Darnold will start.
Writing for 33rd Team, Martz ranked the top 5 offenses in the the 49ers listed as the No. 1. That is something we can get behind. The 49ers have so many darn weapons it’s hard to not see them in that position should the aforementioned QB battle give us the best fit for the role.
In that same article is what brings us our material for today, a statement that he thinks Darnold will start.
I believe Darnold will start. He was a highly talented guy coming out of college. He was put in a couple of tough situations with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers. Now, he’s with a solid offensive staff and a coach who is brilliant with quarterbacks. The 49ers are an extremely talented team, and Darnold being the starter would be a good thing. They are primed to have a great season.
There’s two reasons to bring Martz into this. 1: He was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers for a season. You remember him as a part of the OC Carousel that Alex Smith had to deal with until Jim Harbaugh arrived. He had one year with Mike Nolan, then Mike Singletary was hired and dismissed him for Jimmy Raye II.
And 2: It gives us a chance to talk about the other quarterback. I already said to get front-row seats on Purdy v. Lance, but what about Darnold? Well if he is the starter, I personally feel (yeah, I’m sure no one cares) that something is extremely wrong with the 49ers quarterback position. I understand coaching matters, but for Darnold to get the start, that means not only did he grasp the offense in his first season (something only Brock Purdy has been able to do), he also showed enough that the 49ers didn’t even want to “risk” things with Trey Lance to even see if their investment had improved on gameday. He and all these mechanical things he’s improved. Or Lance got injured. Again. Which probably isn’t the best way for your mega-trade quarterback to end their career.
It also would mean Brock Purdy, the golden boy of 2022 either got beat out by Sam Darnold or he isn’t on track to play. The former should make you chuckle with fear and the latter is a possibility. While Purdy is on track to recover, he very well could sit the first couple of games out to get in football shape. We saw this with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert during Chip Kelly’s lone season coaching the team. While everything seems to be moving smooth enough this won’t happen, it’s definitely possible.
Darnold was a turnover machine in college (36 total) and nothing much has changed in his transition to the pro game (73). He may be the best thrower the 49ers have ever seen, but he’s definitely thrown a lot of picks. As I’ve said, it could be a product of bad coaching, but if Darnold gets the nod at the end of all of this, something would be really strange.
Do you think Darnold can get the start or is he on the undercard for the Lance v. Purdy main event?