Lately, reports have indicated the San Francisco 49ers quarterback position will be one for Brock Purdy to lose. Purdy has shown a lot for a rookie in his eight game from 2022. Playoff wins, poise, good decision making and dealing with adjusting defenses. So what’s left to prove?
Former NFL safety Will Blackmon joined Colin Cowherd’s show to discuss Purdy and had just one thing left he needs to see to solidify Purdy as a franchise QB:
We need to see it again. That’s how it always is. When somebody does something well, we need to see it again. Give us a full 18 [games]. Let him actually see some legit adversity, now that we have a full year of film on this guy, let’s seem him do it again.
Discussing Cowherd himself is a whole different rabbit hole, so we’ll leave that to another thread. But Blackmon’s point is valid: Purdy needs to show consistency year to year, not to mention show he can do it for a full season. That’s really the only question mark that remains outside the obvious one of how his rehab goes. Blackmon did later point out Purdy is lucky to have a great system in San Francisco with the defense and pieces around him to walk into, but we’ve seen several quarterbacks come into a similar situation and things go downhill. The 49ers themselves are a great example since anytime Jimmy Garoppolo went down, that “system” that was so great took a nosedive, rather than get elevated.
The second year has a way of rearing its ugly head and it’s not uncommon to see players with a ridiculous first season come back to earth a bit for the second. In terms of quarterbacks however, the decline can happen much more rapidly. My own skepticism on Purdy was lowered after his fourth start. Usually the first two or three games are where a quarterback can show some great stuff. “Let’s see what happens in games four or five, or the playoffs,” was my response. The defense gets film and starts building a book on the QB and you see them come back to earth (anyone remember Troy Smith’s first start during the Mike Singletary days?) It’s a matter of how the quarterback adjusts to the adjustments.
Sometimes that second year is the wakeup call. While Jimmy Garoppolo showed us some good stuff his first season with the 49ers, his second season in 2018 under Kyle Shanahan’s offense didn’t exactly set anything on fire. Sure, he got injured three games into the season so it’s far from anything conclusive, but what we saw against the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions to start that season wasn’t looking too hot. Colin Kaepernick also had a bit of a regression his first full season starting once the league started figuring him out. Kaepernick remained quite good, but some of the dynamic playmaking seemed to vanish.
Purdy could regress and it’s probably a given for even something slight. The question is how much and if he can deal with the adversity as he adjusts to teams adjusting to him. If we can see this then Trey Lance is an afterthought. If Purdy does regress significantly, the 49ers would have some options.