Football is here. Mostly. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will speak to the media Tuesday at 11 a.m. PT. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will be the first three practices of training camp.
We’ll be going over camp battles that don’t include quarterbacks this week. Every Trey Lance and Sam Darnold dropback will be documented and broken down as if the Niners season depends on it.
Much like Jimmy Garoppolo during training camp last year, Brock Purdy figures to rehab on the side practice field. You can bank on Shanahan fielding questions about Purdy’s progress. Why wouldn’t he? Purdy’s health is the biggest question the 49ers face as training camp approaches.
The only question that remains for Brock is when he’s cleared, not if, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner:
Aside from a slight delay to have the UCL in his right elbow repaired, Purdy’s recovery has gone well. He began throwing less than 12 weeks after having the surgery, creating optimism he will be cleared to return at some point in training camp. The question doesn’t seem to be if, but when that will happen. There’s no prescribed timeline, but if Purdy can get back in mid- to late August, it would give him time to step back into the starting job the Niners believe he earned with his play down the stretch last season as a rookie.
Purdy has shied away from giving a specific date whenever he’s been broached on the topic. He doesn’t want to provide a date and fall short, which makes sense. Late August always felt optimistic, but that’s a viewpoint from the outside looking in. Only Purdy and his doctors know.
Once Brock is cleared, how quickly will he be able to get up to speed? Let’s say by September 1. That gives him less than two weeks to knock off the rust and get ready for the Steelers. It seems like a tall task, which is why Lance and Darnold’s development during training camp will be monitored so closely.
Throwing out best-case scenarios at this stage would be nothing but conjecture. Purdy is a competitor; therefore, he’s not going to want to miss a snap. But if the coaching staff doesn’t trust Lance or Darnold, and Purdy is 85 percent ready, do you throw him out there?
That’s one of a dozen scenarios that the 49ers may run into during the next month as their quarterback situation plays out, which is precisely what we’ll have to let this story do — play itself out.