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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With Brock Purdy’s injury now behind him, 49ers GM John Lynch says QB can focus on “areas of improvement rather than just getting well”

Marc Adams
Mar 2, 2024 at 10:41 AM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy had a remarkable 2023 season. It was his first full season as the starter, and Purdy did not disappoint, passing for 4,280 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also led the league in passer rating at 113.0. And Purdy became the 49ers' first Pro Bowl QB since Jeff Garcia was selected in 2002.

Matt Maiocco, of NBC Sports Bay Area, recently sat down with 49ers GM John Lynch, for the latest episode of 49ers Talk. They talked about the season Purdy had, and how different this offseason is compared to last offseason, when Purdy was coming off a torn UCL suffered in the NFC Championship Game. There was plenty of speculation as to whether or not Purdy would play in 2023, and with highly-drafted QB Trey Lance returning from injury, some even questioned whether or not Purdy would get another chance with the 49ers.

So after a full season as the team's starting quarterback, and two deep postseason runs, how does the 49ers' future at the position look, especially with the UCL injury in the rearview mirror?

"Well, I think the first thing that comes to mind, this time last year, we're wondering and didn't really have the answer," Lynch said. When they give you timelines on these injuries, they're exactly that. Fortunately, he didn't have any setbacks other than initially pushing his surgery back, which was the right thing to do. But that's where we were this time last year. So for him to come back, play the way he played, play at times during the season, as good as any quarterback in the league, being the front runner for the MVP, deep into the season, that's remarkable."

It is remarkable, and what is perhaps most remarkable about Purdy's 2023 season was that it came after not having an offseason to work on his game, instead having to focus exclusively on rehabbing from injury. Young NFL players, especially quarterbacks, need the offseason to regroup, learn, tweak, and work on technique. Purdy didn't have that opportunity because of the injury. And it looked far too familiar for 49ers fans, having a quarterback rehab in the offseason.

That was the case for former 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who was recovering from a torn ACL after the 2018 season, a high-ankle sprain after the 2020 season, and multiple injuries after the 2021 season. And of course, there was Lance, recovering from a thumb injury after the 2021 season, and a broken ankle after the 2022 season. It looked like Purdy, who not only dealt with the UCL injury in 2022 but also sustained a broken rib in his first-ever start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, might be the latest 49ers QB to spend more time recovering from injuries than working on his game.

But Purdy rebounded from the serious UCL injury to have a better season than just about any quarterback in the league. And if the Christmas night game against the Baltimore Ravens had gone differently, Purdy may have been named league MVP (he finished fourth in voting). And with a full offseason to hone his craft, he has a chance to get even better.

"And what I do know from people, they'll always tell you the year after, 'I thought I was okay the year before, but man, now I feel even better,'" Lynch continued. "And so we anticipate that being the case with Brock. He can focus on things, of areas improvement, rather than just getting well. And then just the experience. The more experiences you face in this league that you encounter, you can draw upon those experiences, especially at that position. And so we see an already great career continuing to ascend and we're really happy with Brock and everything that he represents and the way he is leading our team right now."

With a full offseason to work on areas in which he needs to get better, and with more than a season's worth of experience, Purdy truly can focus on improving, rather than on getting well. And that bodes well for the 49ers.

You can watch Maiocco's full interview with Lynch below:


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