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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

When Kyle Shanahan stopped being surprised by 49ers rookie Brock Purdy

Jan 5, 2023 at 4:12 PM--

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Sometimes it's easy to watch San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy play and forget that he is a rookie. It doesn't matter if he makes a great or a poor play. A fantastic play might have you believing Purdy is a seasoned veteran ... and then you remember he isn't. The same might happen during a mistake. You might think an experienced quarterback should avoid an obvious error ... and then you remember he is a rookie.

Kyle Shanahan clearly has a lot of trust in his 23-year-old quarterback. Did the head coach think he would be this comfortable with Purdy after only a handful of starts?

"No, definitely not," Shanahan answered on KNBR's Tolbert & Copes show. "I think when that hit me was after his first game. When I got home that night, I was surprised. I mean, Jimmy [Garoppolo] goes down, gets hurt, and [Purdy] goes in that game, and they're all-out blitzing and doing a bunch of crazy stuff. We played with him for three quarters, and once I got home that night, I was like, 'Holy cow.'

"... You start off, and you realize your third guy is going in there. It's his first game. But after watching him just for a few series, I quickly forgot about it. And that's not just because I forgot about it. It's because he made me forget about it. The ball's going to the right spot. He's playing aggressive but not stupid. He's playing fast, and things are going well.

"I was surprised when I got home that night that I actually ended up feeling that way. Then you go into the Tampa Bay game. He had a great week of practice, and I felt that way throughout the whole Tampa Bay game. Now it's not a surprise to me. It's been fun. It's been fun in practice, and it's carried over into the game."

Purdy has grown comfortable with Shanahan too. It's gotten to the point where he can anticipate what his head coach will think or say. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes it is bad. The young quarterback is receptive to any criticism his coaches are willing to offer up.

"There's plays where I'm out on the field, and if I miss a read or whatever, something happens, like literally, right in the moment, I'm like, Man, I know that I should have done this or that," Purdy told reporters on Thursday. "And I can sort of anticipate him saying, 'Hey, we've got to do this, this, and that' or 'You missed this,' which I appreciate. I'm on the same page with him.

"I totally see what he says in terms of how I can get better and everything like that. The same with [quarterback coach Brian] Griese and everyone. I'm never a guy who has my wall up, and you can't tell me anything. I have to learn it on my own. I definitely love hearing feedback from my coaches."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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