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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Why Baldy is a believer in Brock Purdy, 49ers offense

May 19, 2023 at 8:06 AM--

NFL Media analyst Brian Baldinger believes the San Francisco 49ers can boast a top-five offense in 2023. They certainly have the playmakers to do it. The unit features several stars like Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle.

Let's not forget quarterback Brock Purdy, last season's rookie sensation that guided the 49ers to eight consecutive wins before suffering a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

Ndamukong Suh, who was on the opposing defense in that game, is not as impressed as most in the 49ers' second-year quarterback. Instead, the defensive lineman downplayed Purdy's success while boasting about Philadelphia's win over San Francisco.

"I'm not a believer by any means," Suh said on NFL Network's NFL Total Access. "I don't think this offense runs through Brock Purdy."

Suh added that head coach Kyle Shanahan prefers to see his offense run through his other versatile playmakers, downplaying Purdy's contributions in last season's success.

Obviously, Baldinger disagrees. The respected analyst explained why.

"Ndamukong Suh, I couldn't disagree more with what you just said," Baldinger said. "In his eight starts, [he] was the highest rated quarterback in this league—higher than [Patrick] Mahomes, higher than Tua [Tagovailoa], higher than [Joe] Burrow; highest rated quarterback in this league. He was more than handing the ball off to McCaffrey and flipping it to Deebo in a reverse. The guy was a playmaker.

"And while they are the most talented team in this league, when you look at just the high-priced players, whether it's Trent Williams, whether it's McCaffrey, whether it's Deebo, whether it's Kittle, [Nick] Bosa, [Fred] Warner, I mean, they've got some of the highest paid guys in the league at all positions. It's talent, but they still need somebody to get the ball to all these guys."

The biggest offseason question is when Purdy might return to form. He underwent surgery on March 10 and could miss the entire offseason; maybe even a few regular-season games. Although, the 49ers are hopeful the young signal-caller can return some time during training camp. Purdy's recovery timeline will become clearer when the quarterback starts throwing again in a few weeks.

"So I don't know what this recovery is going to be like, when that elbow and that arm are going to get back to that form that he demonstrated a year ago," Baldinger added. "And when you were in Philadelphia, you knocked him out in the sixth play. It was a great play by Haason Reddick to get him out of the game and to really turn your fortunes a good way.

"But I've got got to see. If Purdy is in there, I completely believe in this team being a top-five offense if he's truly healthy."
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