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Purdy? Lance? Darnold? 49ers insider predicts Week 1 starting QB

Jun 1, 2023 at 2:56 PM--

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Everyone is trying to predict the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback when the team takes the field during Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Will it be Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, or Sam Darnold?

Purdy started some light throwing this week while under some careful supervision. He is nearly three months removed from the surgery to repair the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, an injury suffered during the NFC Championship Game.

Purdy's workload will ramp up, and the 49ers remain hopeful that he can begin throwing normally before the start of the regular season—maybe even sometime during training camp. The second-year quarterback hasn't had any setbacks, so that is certainly possible.

"There are certain markers that you hit," general manager John Lynch said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "He was 12 weeks out, and that meant it was time to throw. He did so and responded really well. He's just had one session thus far, but we're incredibly encouraged by that."

Lynch added, "And as for best-case scenario, we're just going to kind of take it as it comes. But the hope is he's ready for training camp. The hope is he's ready for the regular season."

Lance started last season as the 49ers' starting quarterback but suffered a season-ending ankle injury just two games in. He is healthy now and competing with veteran Sam Darnold for at least the QB2 spot. While Lance has only four career starts, Darnold has 55. Some argue that the added experience makes Darnold a strong candidate to start Week 1 if Purdy isn't ready.

One 49ers insider joined KNBR on Thursday morning and summarized the Purdy storyline pretty well.

"I'll tell you what, the vibe and just what is coming out of that building is so much more positive in the past two weeks than it had been," Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area said on the Murph & Mac show. "It was always kind of a, 'Wait and see, pump the brakes, hope he can be ready.'

"And starting with Kyle Shanahan, who certainly is not among the more optimistic people you ever talked to, last week, he was like, 'We're feeling good that he can be ready Week 1.' And then John Lynch yesterday ... he drew a pretty rosy picture of where Brock Purdy is.

"I think when you don't see it, you don't know exactly what's going on because you always kind of have this impression of, 'Oh, he can't start throwing until three months in,' but clearly he's putting in a lot of work and going through stuff. So he's working that elbow, and now, I think that throwing program is starting to ramp up."

Who would Maiocco pick if he had to predict which quarterback would lead the 49ers offense at Acrisure Stadium during Week 1?

"He's been working all the way through," Maiocco said of Purdy. "So all signs certainly are pointing to him. If I were a betting man right now, and the odds were Who's going to be the starting quarterback for the 49ers on September 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, my money would go on Brock Purdy."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Maiocco below.


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