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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5 reasons why 49ers QB Brock Purdy will be better in 2024

Marc Adams
Apr 20, 2024 at 10:53 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers appear to have found their quarterback. It was a bumpy road on the journey to locate him, too. There was the up-and-down tenure of Jimmy Garoppolo, whose relationship with Head Coach Kyle Shanahan seemed dysfunctional, at times. Then there was the short-lived Trey Lance experiment.

Garoppolo and Lance are no longer being with the team, and one major reason is the emergence of Brock Purdy as the team's QB. Purdy finished his second season with a trip to the Super Bowl, after having a Pro Bowl season in which he finished with 4,280 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also led the league in multiple statistics, including passer rating (113.0) and QBR (72.8). Additionally, Purdy finished fourth in NFL MVP voting.

But a year ago, no one knew what to expect from the former Iowa State quarterback. Purdy was coming off surgery from a torn UCL on his throwing arm. Additionally, he had only played part of his rookie season, starting the regular season as the third-string quarterback. So there was concern over how he would perform in his second season.

Purdy answered the call, though, making noticeable improvements. But can he do that again? I believe he can, and here are five reasons why Purdy will be better in 2024:

1. His confidence

Purdy doesn't suffer from a lack of confidence. Even as a rookie, who at the time, was the fourth-string QB, Purdy believed he belonged. Matt Maiocco, of NBC Sports Bay Area, has commented on how he noticed it immediately when he first met Purdy. According to Maiocco, you don't usually see a lot of confidence in a rookie, fourth-string quarterback. But he said Purdy had that confidence, almost to the point of being cocky.

Purdy isn't cocky. He is, in fact, a humble person. But he has a lot of confidence that he can lead his team to a championship. And he has reason to be confident. After all, he went from fourth-string QB to starter to franchise quarterback in a matter of weeks. That doesn't happen if you lack confidence in yourself.

2. His commitment

Purdy is not only confident, he is extremely committed to improving. All you have to do is go back to last offseason when Purdy was coming back from his injury. He not only returned to practice sooner than most believed he would, but he had an impressive season, which showcased a lot of improvement from the season before. One area in which I noticed improvement was how he escaped the pocket.

In 2022, as a rookie, Purdy would often spin around and take off to his left, a dangerous move that sometimes can run you right into a defender without seeing him. I had hoped he would stop doing that, and last season, he didn't do that nearly as much. Instead, he would escape the pocket in much more efficient and safe ways.

There's no question that Purdy won't rest on his 2023 season accomplishments. He will continue to work at getting better.

3. His offseason

Purdy finally gets an offseason to work on his craft. Two years ago, he was preparing for the NFL Draft and then had to learn the offense. Last offseason, Purdy was recovering from his torn UCL. This time, he can focus on improving and learning more about the game and the offense, rather than just on rehabbing his injury.

In early March, GM John Lynch sat down with Maiocco and spoke about Purdy. "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.

"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."

For Purdy to have an injury-free offseason to work on his game is huge. And we should see an even better QB1 in San Francisco because of this.

4. His intelligence

Purdy is very smart. He rapidly picked up a complicated offense that Lance, and even Garoppolo, were slow to get, at times. As evidence, Purdy can quickly read what a defense is doing, and react accordingly. That's not something young quarterbacks do very well. But Purdy has excelled at this, seeing things on the field that some veteran QBs don't even see.

And who could forget the report last offseason about Purdy's scoring in the mid-90s on the S2 Cognition test, which is considered elite. The S2 test measures how quickly and accurately athletes process information. For Purdy to score at an elite level shows how smart he is, and how well he reacts.

5. His intangibles

Purdy has some intangibles that aren't usually discussed during the NFL Scouting Combine and the lead-up to the NFL Draft. Those talks often revolve around the quarterback's arm strength, his ability to make all the throws (whatever that means), and his overall athletic ability. Purdy was barely drafted, and one reason was that experts believed he lacked that elite arm talent.

But Purdy has qualities that are harder to measure, much like Joe Montana, years before him.

  • Poise. What is poise? Simply put, it's knowing what to do, and getting it done. Go back to the 2022 game against the Miami Dolphins, when Purdy entered the game after Garoppolo went down. He didn't look like a quarterback who was scared, or overwhelmed by the situation. He looked confident—as if he had been playing for years. Compare that to what we saw a year earlier when Lance played in Garoppolo's place. He looked much less confident and lacked the poise Purdy showed.
  • Accuracy. One of Purdy's best traits is that he throws a very accurate ball, hitting receivers where he's supposed to, in stride, so they can catch the ball and keep running.
  • Leadership. Purdy's teammates follow him, and they believe in him. Partly because of his willingness to shoulder the blame when the team loses. Partly because of his play on the field. And partly because of his willingness to take the reins and lead. Remember when Purdy first took over the huddle and told George Kittle to shut up because the star tight end was talking instead of listening? That's good leadership.

Will Purdy build off his 2023 season and be even better in 2024? I believe he will, and with a new contract looming a year from now, he has a chance to set himself, and his team, up well for years to come.
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