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Mailbag: Can the 49ers still win the Super Bowl? Will SF add another QB1? Is the Super Bowl window closing? Is Purdy an upgrade over Garoppolo?

Marc Adams
Dec 7, 2022 at 10:24 AM--

It's been a rollercoaster over the last few days for the San Francisco 49ers, with lots of quick turns, and plenty of highs and lows. Some fans have experienced nausea and vomiting.

On Sunday morning, the reports came out that Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers were mutually interested in the quarterback returning to the team in 2023. Then, only a handful of plays into the game against the Miami Dolphins, Garoppolo went down with a foot injury, that we later were told would keep him out for the season.

On Monday, that was still the story. Then came the news that the Carolina Panthers were releasing Baker Mayfield, leading some to speculate on whether the 49ers could possibly bring in the former number-one overall pick. More nausea and vomiting ensued.

Mayfield ended up being claimed by the Rams. That's good for the 49ers.

But on Tuesday, news broke that the injury Garoppolo sustained wasn't as bad as initially reported (no surgery needed), and that he could possibly return for the postseason. That's great news, but my head is spinning. I wonder if Dramamine helps with that.

As a result of all this, our mailbag has undergone a reshaping, as I have had to remove the multiple "Mayfield to the Niners" questions. By the way, my answer to those was a strong "no."

Let's get to the questions we were able to keep.

How many more years do you think the core of this team has left (Kittle, Deebo, Bosa, Warner,...) in their Super Bowl window? - DoctorWDS

Teams change every season. Players and coaches come and go. Nick Bosa will be in San Francisco for a long time. Fred Warner should be, as well. I'm not sure how long George Kittle and Deebo Samuel will be around, primarily because of injuries, and the way they play. It's hard to keep everyone. Will the 49ers be able to keep Samuel, and sign Aiyuk to an extension down the road? I sure hope so. They need to do everything they can to keep this team together.

I disagree with those who say the 49ers' Super Bowl window is closing. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have built a great roster, and there's no reason to believe they won't be able to continue building it.

A lot depends on the quarterback position, but this team should be good for a while.

Against NO, Womack was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul on a punt for not getting back in the field of play. Yet against the Dolphins when the same thing happened to Campbell on MIA that was just a running out-of-bounds foul for 5 yards. What's the difference? - Niner Jim

It's true that Samuel Womack was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the Saints game for going out of bounds on a punt. And it's true that the Dolphins player was called for a 5-yard penalty for running out of bounds on a punt, as well.

I had wondered, myself, what the difference was, thinking it must be something that Womack did while out of bounds.

I did a little research, but was struggling to find out why Womack may have been penalized 15 yards. So I reached out to some of the other writers at 49ers Webzone. They're a great group of talented writers. They're not the best-looking group of writers you'll see, but they know their stuff.

One of them, Chris Wilson, knew the answer. Wilson explained, "Running out of bounds voluntarily is a 5-yard penalty. Not immediately returning to the field of play after being forced out of bounds is a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. I guess the 'logic' is the opposing team isn't allowed to block/touch you, but it was a ticky-tacky call given it's a 15-yarder."

So it seems the difference has to do with how quickly the player returns to the field of play. It's not the best rule out there, and gives the official too much room to interpret things on his or her own. I agree with Chris. It was ticky-tacky.

How much heartbreak can these players endure and maintain their best effort? No matter how stiff their upper lip, it's got to weigh on their psyches. - Mickey W.

This team has endured a lot. They are a resilient group. But you do have to wonder how much they can take.

Last year was a challenging year, and the 49ers had to go on the road for a month or more to close out the season. That wore on them, and they eventually lost in the NFC Championship Game. I truly believe that if they would have had at least one home game in that stretch, and hadn't been fighting for their lives since mid-November, they would have beaten the Rams, and then won the Super Bowl.

Losing two starting quarterbacks in the same season is rough. Receiving news that Garoppolo may be able to return could help. Not only his potential return to the team in January, but the fact that he may not be facing surgery, and a long recovery, like it was appearing he would. The players love Garoppolo as their QB, but they love him even more as a person. So I would think their spirits are a little higher Wednesday morning than they were Monday or Tuesday morning.

Winning helps, too. So there's that.

Am I crazy to think a Super Bowl is still in play? - Adam M.

Not at all. This team is still loaded with talent. And we've seen that a team with a great defense, a strong running game, and a quarterback who doesn't make a lot of mistakes can win the Super Bowl. If Brock Purdy can be that guy, they can still win this whole thing.

Joe Montana believes the 49ers can win the Super Bowl with Brock Purdy. Who am I to argue with a 4-time Super Bowl Champion?

Besides Josh Johnson, what other QBs should SF reach out to if any? - 49er Dude

I'm not sure who the team (or fans) would even want. Is Matt Ryan an upgrade over Purdy? I doubt he is at this stage of his career. Would Mayfield have been an upgrade over Purdy? Physically, yes. But he doesn't know the offense like Purdy. And I don't think he would have been able to earn the respect of his teammates like Purdy has. And that matters.

At this point, I think Josh Johnson will be the only one the 49ers bring in. That could change, of course, but I think they'll ride with Purdy and then see if Garoppolo does return.

So is #13 the QB1 going forward? Or is the team looking for another starter? - Jonathan S.

As I wrote above, I believe Purdy will be QB1 for the remainder of the season. I really don't foresee the 49ers bringing in anyone to "compete" for that spot.

Since 2019, the 49ers have had the roster to win a SB. What was holding them back was a good starting QB that could stay healthy. Now the 49ers have a rookie 7th-round draft pick at QB. Will 49ers decision-makers go out & find an experienced QB before it is too late and all these talented 49ers' careers are over? Only once in five years could JG play a whole season. 2023 may be the beginning of the closing of this great opportunity to win the 6th SB ring. - Marvin H.

Marvin, you seem a little grumpy. Breathe.

Yes, the 49ers have had bad luck with injuries to the quarterbacks. But it's still too early to bail on them. Let's see how the season plays out. I don't agree with your opinion that 2023 is the beginning of the closing of the team's Super Bowl window. This is a great organization, and the 49ers' front office and coaching staff are well-respected in league circles. That's because they are doing a great job.

Do you believe Brock Purdy can "Trent Dilfer" this team to Lombardi #6? - Johnny Y.

Do you think Mr. Irrelevant, who is now RELEVANT, could be our very own 2018 Nick Foles? Can you imagine the headlines... - Michael R.

Since there were multiple questions about Purdy, I'll answer them together.

If Purdy can keep from turning the ball over, like most rookies have a tendency to do, then yes, the 49ers can win a sixth Super Bowl. If he plays like a rookie, and gives the ball to the other team, the 49ers will struggle to make the playoffs, or won't last long, if they do make it.

Keep in mind that Trent Dilfer and Nick Foles both had more NFL experience than Purdy does. Dilfer had been a starting NFL QB for seven seasons when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000. Foles was also in his seventh season when he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win.

Purdy is a rookie who was barely drafted. Yes, I believe it's possible that he can be the first-ever rookie to win a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback, but it's also a long shot. It's never happened before. But someday it likely will happen. So why not now? I've even seen some national media who believe the 49ers are still in this.

So, is Johnson going to bump Purdy out of the number-one spot?.... I hope not. Let's tap into his potential. - Timothy R.

No, Johnson will be QB2. He won't play unless Purdy is injured, or is playing horribly. Johnson will also provide a strong veteran presence who can help Purdy with what he's seeing out on the field.

Let's hope Johnson never has to play.

Mr. Relevant looked better to me than Jimmy G. I think he will take the team as far, if not further, than Jimmy would have. Thoughts? - DoctorDWS

I disagree. Purdy did not look better than Garoppolo. Purdy is not an upgrade over Garoppolo and I'm just not sure how he can take the team further than Garoppolo. I've already written (multiple times) that I believe this team can still win another Lombardi trophy this season. But that's because of the team, not the rookie QB.

It was one game, and Purdy performed well. He did what he needed to do. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I've also seen other 49ers quarterbacks play well for one game, or a few games, before getting exposed. Troy Smith comes to mind. Nick Mullens is another. Who could forget Blaine Gabbert? I'm sure you have some names like that popped into your head. That nausea is returning, isn't it?

Purdy played well against Miami, but next up is Tampa Bay. They are a much better defense. If Purdy plays well against the Bucs, and then in Seattle, I'll start thinking the 49ers might have found something with the last pick of the draft. But I need to see how those games go. And don't forget about Washington. Their defense could be the best the 49ers will have faced all season.

Being that Jimmy Garoppolo will need surgery and is done for the season, is there any chance that he comes back for the Playoffs? - Dominic M.

Dominic asked this question before the news came out that Garoppolo would not need surgery. My plan was to answer and tell Dominic that there was no way Garoppolo would be able to return for the postseason. I was correct, as long as the initial diagnosis was correct. Thankfully it wasn't correct, and now there is a chance Garoppolo could return.

What does Mike have to do to get benched this season? - Zach M.

Mike McGlinchey is showing us, on a weekly basis, how to get benched. It just hasn't happened yet because the 49ers don't currently have anyone behind him that is any better. Shocking, I know.

I'm pretty hard on McGlinchey, but I just think he's terrible as a pass-blocker. In seasons past, he was one of the best run-blockers in the league. But this year, he hasn't even been good at that. It seems like he's either too light and gets pushed around, or too slow and gets run around. And then there are some games where he gets run and pushed around at the same time.

What would Mr. Relevant need to do this season to challenge Trey for the starting job next season? - DoctorWDS

Win. If Purdy plays well, and the team keeps winning, he will have the opportunity to compete with Lance for the starting position next season.

The question is, will it be Lance he's competing with? Will Garoppolo be on the team? Could Tom Brady be in the mix? What if I get my shot? (You know, if I started working out every day...)

It will be an exciting offseason, but isn't that what the 49ers do to us every year?

Buckle up, and be sure to keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. The rest of this season is going to move at a furious pace. And it might be a tad bumpy at times. Thanks for all your questions.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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