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49ers Notebook: Purdy not obsessing over interceptions; Mitchell, McCloud injury updates; Kicker plan vs. Broncos

Aug 16, 2023 at 1:42 PM

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Some reporters are obsessing over Brock Purdy's interceptions during training camp. It remains unclear if we'll see the San Francisco 49ers quarterback in any preseason games this month. Naturally, that has led to a lot of analysis of the second-year player's throws in practice.

One person who isn't obsessing over the interception tally is Purdy.

"You never want interceptions in any situation," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after Wednesday's practice. "... I definitely like having interceptions a lot more in practice than in games. And one thing Brock does is he lets it rip. He's not worried about anything else, especially not worried about people counting his interceptions at practice and stuff.

"That doesn't mean they're all right. But I do like him letting it rip, and I like him learning from things that he can't get away with, things you can't get away with. And I think our defense got their hands on a lot of balls, not just Brock's. I definitely want our quarterbacks to cut down on them, but I also want them to make real throws, and when they make mistakes, to learn from them."

Shanahan notes that he doesn't coach his quarterbacks to be more aggressive in practices than in games. He wants them to be the same.

"But you also are always responsible for that ball," Shanahan added. "And there's sometimes in games that you see something, you hesitate a little bit because of some scar you might have had in practice or something from letting it go, and you don't let it rip because you did that in practice. And then we watch the tape after, and we try to learn if that was real or not or if that was just a scar from practice.

"Those things happen. You try to coach it the exact same, but where you learn is practice. And then you get to the games, and you never tell someone to change. You want to be aggressive in everything you do. But now, if we get those three picks, it's going to be extremely hard for us to win."

RELATED Shanahan has not finalized plan for Purdy, 49ers starters vs. Broncos

Shanahan hasn't finalized the plan for his starters against the Denver Broncos on Saturday. That includes the plan for Purdy. If the quarterback doesn't play in the preseason contest this weekend, we're unlikely to see him in a game before Week 1's matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

No insight into QB2 battle

Shanahan didn't want to offer additional insight into the QB2 competition between Trey Lance and Sam Darnold. A reporter asked where things stand in the battle right now. The coach responded, "They're competing for it."

That was it.

Neither quarterback was overly impressive in Sunday's preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Lance started the game, with Darnold and Brandon Allen coming in later. Shanahan plans to have Darnold be the first quarterback on the field against the Broncos on Saturday.

Brandon Allen returns to team

When the 49ers returned to the Bay Area on Sunday, Allen was not with them. That's because the quarterback left to be with his wife, who was close to having a baby.

"He had a baby yesterday morning. I think he might be back now," Shanahan said, noting that the veteran quarterback should be available to practice on Thursday.

Mitchell, McCloud injury updates

Shanahan confirmed that running back Elijah Mitchell, who has been dealing with an abductor strain, is close to returning to practice.

The coach provided an update on another player—Ray-Ray McCloud. The wide receiver and returner underwent surgery on a broken wrist. Shanahan initially believed the recovery would keep him out for about eight weeks. Now, there is hope that he might be back for the start of the regular season, which means the team is leaning toward not placing him on injured reserve.

"So I expect we won't be able to put him on IR, which is a good thing because we hope he can play, hopefully Week 1," Shanahan said. "We'll see how fast it is, but we won't know that for a little bit."

Kicker plan vs. Broncos

Jake Moody, the kicker the 49ers drafted in the third round, missed both field-goal attempts on Sunday against the Raiders, prompting some fan concern. The team has another kicker, Zane Gonzalez, on the roster, and we will likely see him on Saturday. The 49ers coach wants to see both kickers get opportunities against the Broncos.

"Zane's looked too good to not give him a chance," Shanahan shared. "That was the plan last week, too, when we were going to have Moody go one and then Zane come in the next. But when he missed that, I wanted to give him another chance."

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