The 49ers haven’t made it any secret who they prefer to start at quarterback. It’s not breaking news to say the team favors the 7th round rookie who helped take the offense to a level it hadn’t been to under Kyle Shanahan.
The question has always been when Brock Purdy would regain his health, and would that allow him enough time to start Week 1. The answer seems to change each week.
Purdy had his first post surgery throwing session last Monday, on May 29. That’s the start of Brock’s 12-week ramp-up period. If all goes according to plan, he should be fully cleared for football activities around August 20. That’d leave Brock about three weeks or so to practice and get up to speed before the season opener.
NBC Sports Matt Maiocco wrote on Monday that there won’t be much of a quarterback competition:
Realistically, if Purdy is ready to play football when the season rolls around, it will be his job.
If his road to a full recovery stays true to the 12-week timeframe, he would receive full medical clearance to play football around Aug. 21 — or 20 days before the start of the 2023 NFL season.
There virtually will be no way one of the other quarterbacks will be able to take the job away from Purdy based solely on practices. Why? Because Purdy already has shown in games what he brings to the team.
But what Purdy proved to everyone involved with the 49ers is that he has the physical skills to succeed in the NFL, while also possessing many intangible factors that do not necessary show up during practice sessions.
There’s no arguing that Purdy’s intangibles are off the charts. It’s a small sample size, but he did everything and then some for an offense that was inconsistent before the rookie took over.
We’re so hung up on whether Purdy starts or not. I’m more interested in what happens if he runs into speed bumps. What happens if there is a bad game? Two? Three? Does Shanahan fall out of love as quickly as he fell for Purdy?
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the offense would pick up where it left off. The Niners scored points in bunches unlike any other offense last season under Purdy. But with more exposure comes more adjustments, and the schedule won’t consist of Tua, a 45-year-old QB, Taylor Heinicke, Jarrett Stidham, and David Blough.
And to be fair, Trey Lance or Sam Darnold would both have similar questions. So, it makes sense why the Niners would prefer to roll with a quarterback who they’ve seen perform in games for a half season. That’s more than they can say about the other two.
The first four games of the season are winnable, and whoever starts will likely have their stats inflated a bit. But that could give Purdy, Lance, or Darnold the confidence needed heading into the tougher stretch of the schedule.