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Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Why Kyle Shanahan loves coaching 49ers QB Brock Purdy

Nov 15, 2023 at 1:43 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has achieved a lot in a season's worth of NFL games. He has helped guide the team to two playoff wins and a trip to the NFC Championship Game.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan's confidence in Purdy as the starting quarterback for the 2023 season was unwavering, even as Purdy recovered from major offseason surgery on his throwing arm. The 23-year-old had earned the QB1 job.

When asked what more he wants to see from his second-year quarterback, Shanahan responded, "I just feel you're always getting better or worse. So I'd like him to just continue to get better. I thought what he showed last year, in the time he played, he showed he was capable of being our starting quarterback, and I don't think anything's been different this year so far."

Despite facing criticism during a recent three-game losing streak for throwing five interceptions, Purdy responded with one of his best performances in a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns, achieving a career-high passer rating of 148.9.

Shanahan was critical of one in-game decision against the Jaguars. Purdy tossed a risky pass into coverage in the first quarter. Regardless of the outcome—a touchdown to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk—both Purdy and his coach agreed that the throw was a mistake.

"I was happy he did it, now," Shanahan admits. "I love the result."

The coach revealed that Purdy recognized the mistake by the time he reached the sideline, even as his teammates celebrated the scoring play.

Said Shanahan: "Brock sees football pretty well. No one's going to be perfect. It's really easy when you're watching from afar. You've got to react and play football in the pocket or outside the pocket. But he knows when he makes a bad decision. That's why it's fun to talk to him about it, fun to coach [him]."

Purdy threw another touchdown pass late in the third quarter en route to a dominating 34-3 victory. That one landed in the arms of tight end George Kittle and might have been one of the quarterback's most impressive plays of the game, given the circumstances.

Purdy looked to be in trouble before the ball left his hands. It's impressive that he found Kittle deep and got the football to his tight end.

What did Shanahan see from the sidelines?

"It looks like someone's throwing a grenade out of a bunker," the coach said. "And I'm just watching it and hoping it lands in Kittle's hands. And once it does, felt pretty good about it."
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