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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

How Christian McCaffrey responded to a question about the 49ers’ QB uncertainty

May 26, 2023 at 5:14 PM--

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A healthy Brock Purdy undoubtedly sits atop the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback depth chart. However, he's not healthy. While he is expected to begin throwing again next week, he likely remains months away from being medically cleared to play in a game.

In the meantime, Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, is competing with another former No. 3 overall pick, Sam Darnold, for the QB2 job. One of the two players could start Week 1 of the 2023 season if Purdy isn't ready by then.

Of the quarterbacks on the roster, running back Christian McCaffrey has only played with Purdy and Darnold. Lance suffered his season-ending ankle injury before McCaffrey's arrival. McCaffrey and Darnold were teammates in Carolina.

The running back joined the Rich Eisen Show on Friday and was asked how he goes about his business knowing there is some uncertainty at the quarterback position.

"You just go about your business," McCaffrey told Eisen. "For me, no matter who the quarterback is, I have to get open. I'm not thinking about the quarterback. I'm thinking about getting open, hitting the right holes, doing my job. Otherwise, it doesn't matter.

"And I think everybody has that mentality. It's do your job, do it at the highest level. I'm not a quarterback evaluator. People ask me all the time, how's the quarterback? I have no idea. I don't know mechanics. I have no idea how to evaluate quarterbacks. But what I do know is all three of them are amazing. All three of them are great options."

McCaffrey played nine games last season with Purdy, including three playoff games. The running back watched the then-rookie guide the 49ers to six consecutive regular-season wins and then two playoff wins on the way to the NFC Championship Game.

"I talk about Brock and what he did last year, and not just how he played, but the way he carried himself," McCaffrey shared. "He's built to be a quarterback in this league."

The All-Pro running back also shared his thoughts on Lance.

"I didn't get to play with Trey last year, but from what I've seen so far, Trey has been great," McCaffrey said. "He's been awesome. And obviously, I've played with Sam, and I know what Sam can do, and seeing all the things that he's been doing this OTAs, too. I think, for us, it's nice knowing that we have three great options.

"And like I said, I don't know who the quarterback is going to be. And frankly, my job is just to be as ready to go as I can for whoever it is. But I just know that we're in good hands no matter what. And I pray to God I don't have to play quarterback again."

McCaffrey has thrown four career regular-season passes, completing two of them. He completed his only pass attempt last season—a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams.

McCaffrey almost had to enter the NFC Championship Game at quarterback. That's because the 49ers lost both of their active passers—Purdy and Josh Johnson. First, Purdy suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. Later, Johnson sustained a concussion.

The running back did toss a pass in that playoff bout with the Philadelphia Eagles. Although, it wasn't something worth bragging about.

"It might have been one of the worst plays in my career," McCaffrey said. "I told myself, if [TE] George [Kittle] wasn't open, I'm going to throw this ball as far as I possibly can if I can't run it. And I threw it about 50-something yards to absolutely nobody. But that's all right."


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