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Steve Young says 49ers set at QB with Brock Purdy

Marc Adams
Nov 25, 2023 at 11:13 AM--


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Are the San Francisco 49ers finally set at QB? Since concussions forced Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young to retire following the 1999 season, the 49ers have been searching for that franchise signal-caller they believe would be the guy to lead the team to a sixth Super Bowl Championship.

Jeff Garcia was the guy tasked with following Young. And while Garcia had a good career with the 49ers, complete with multiple Pro Bowls to his name, he was never considered the one who would lead the team back to the top.

Alex Smith was drafted number one overall in 2005 to be that guy. He never really had much of a chance to show he could be, due mainly to a revolving door at offensive coordinator. Colin Kaepernick looked like he might be the guy when he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012. But they came up five yards short. Then the league adjusted to Kaepernick, and he never adjusted back.

The 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, hoping he might be the one. And though he led the team to within seven and a half minutes of winning it all, injuries and a knack for making backbreaking mistakes kept that from happening. Then the team traded a mountain of draft capital to select Trey Lance number three overall in the 2021 draft. But he was a QB that needed development, and the 49ers didn't have time to develop him on a roster that was in win-now mode.

Enter Brock Purdy, the 2022 7th-round pick out of Iowa State. All he's done since taking over for Garroppolo, who took over for Lance, is win games and play at a level higher than any 49ers QB since Young. And Purdy has done it in the face of great scrutiny.

Even with some national media like Nick Wright, Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, and Shannon Sharpe declaring the ball would soon drop, and Purdy would tumble from his perch, the second-year QB continues to silence his critics. At least those who are humble enough to admit when they're wrong.

Jonus Knox, of Fox Sports Radio, said it well recently when he talked about Purdy on his show. "There's nothing wrong with being wrong about your evaluation of Brock Purdy...The 49ers are good, Brock Purdy is good, and if you don't see it by now, you might be an idiot."


So who's right? Is it the critics who only focus on where he was drafted? Is it those defending Purdy? Or is it the former quarterback and ESPN analyst who believes the 49ers may have found their guy after all these years?

Young appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday, and during the conversation, Dan Patrick asked Young if the 49ers are set at quarterback with Purdy. Young responded, "I mean, how can you say no at this point? It's unbelievable to me that the game has always been a processing game, Dan. I mean, and you've got an elite processor, 23-year-old elite processor, and you watch it every weekend."

When Patrick asked how you know when you have that elite processor, Young answered, "I always call it, it's like Star Wars. I always say it's the force. You know, when Obi-Wan Kenobi turns to Luke Skywalker, says, 'You have the force', and everyone goes, 'Well, what is that?' Because it's indescribable. It's this thing that we just talked about, the brain and the ability and the anticipation, the timing and the sense, and it's like a guile. And that's why I say it's the force. Like the kid has the force."

Purdy is an elite processor. He sees things, goes through his reads, and makes decisions very quickly for someone his age. And when he makes his decision, he's gutsy enough to make throws that separate him from previous 49ers QBs who sometimes were hesitant to pull the trigger in certain situations. Case in point, the touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk on Thursday night in Seattle. The wide receiver was surrounded by defenders, but Purdy fit the ball in exactly where it needed to be.


Kyle Shanahan admitted he wasn't sure it was the right decision, and was holding his breath until the throw convinced everyone that it was the right decision.

Young said "the force" is sometimes hard to discern, and is one reason why Purdy was barely drafted. "Why did he get drafted the last guy in the draft? Because the force is hard to judge," Young said. "You're just not sure. And look, I always say that even Brock doesn't know it until he does it. And then it's a revelation for everybody. And that's true for anyone in the NFL. It all comes to you because you can say, 'Oh, I'm great. I know I can do it.' Not really until you do it."

Young added that Purdy has to be an elite processor because he doesn't have the arm talent to process things slowly and then release the ball too late. Whereas other guys with greater physical tools can be late in their decision-making and still get the ball where it needs to go on time. Because Purdy may not possess those skills, he has to make his decisions quickly. Young said that in the three losses, there were times that didn't work out for Purdy and that he is going to have to continue doing it this way and will need to do it this way coming from behind.

Although Purdy put his team in position to win a come-from-behind game in Cleveland last month, a Jake Moody missed field goal prevented that from happening. But it's hard to blame Purdy for not having any comeback victories yet. His team is rarely behind.

The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.



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