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49ers impressed by Brock Purdy’s growth as a QB

May 23, 2024 at 12:14 PM

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San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese has observed improvement in Brock Purdy, who is benefiting from his first full offseason as a starter. During his rookie offseason, Purdy was merely fighting for a roster spot, using his limited practice reps to prove his worth. Last season, he had a few starts under his belt but couldn't get on the practice field due to recovering from offseason surgery on his throwing arm.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Griese explained that Purdy has been hard at work during the 49ers' offseason program. He continues to improve in reading his progressions, managing his footwork, and enhancing his situational awareness. That goes for all of the 49ers quarterbacks.

"I think it's just a confidence thing," Griese said. "I mean, when you first come here, it's a lot. ... You're swimming, mentally, and it's hard to be assertive and demonstrative and be a leader when you're thinking a whole lot about your job. So definitely, I've seen Brock grow in those areas and he needs to continue to."

Purdy can see the difference and feels more comfortable running head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense as the young quarterback prepares for his third NFL season.

"I just think with the playbook and the play calls and all that kind of stuff, it feels a little bit smoother," Purdy said this week. "It registers in my mind a lot quicker. When I go out there, I know what we're doing. Now it's, 'Where can I get the ball to the right guy faster?' And so, sort of just processing those kinds of things helps.

"At quarterback, you can obviously continue to work on your arm strength and all that kind of stuff, but I think just the way you process, the way you go through reads, you can't get enough reps. And so, that's where I'm at. Watching the game tape, coming into practice, and running those plays right now during OTAs, for me, is huge."

Shanahan emphasized his excitement about getting Purdy involved in these early portions of the offseason program. The coach has already seen the benefits on the practice field.

"He is definitely ahead of where he was last year at this time, but it was just real cool being able to go through a whole year of cutups just like we did last year and just starting in Phase 1," Shanahan shared. "The command he had of going out there with the drills and everything and really trying to apply the stuff we had just been watching in the meeting rooms, that really happened all off our 2023 tape.

"Last year, he had to do it, and then it would just be frustrating for him because he couldn't really go work on it. He had to just visualize and think about it, and had to wait for that opportunity in training camp. This year, right away, it's been awesome for him to lead us through the whole offseason, just drill-wise and everything. He's been great to have for a first full offseason."

Griese believes the extra time has helped Purdy understand his role and the mental aspects of playing the position. He notes that there is an edge and a sense of urgency in the locker room because of how last season ended. Purdy and his teammates are learning how to use that to improve collectively.

It also helps that Purdy is not sidelined due to injury, as was the case last offseason.

"I think being healthy is definitely going to be a benefit to Brock," Griese remarked. "Having a whole offseason, things that we can work on, not just his arm, but his whole body, and getting out there and working on his footwork. It's hard to work on your footwork and timing as a quarterback if you're not throwing the ball.

"And last year, we tried to work on timing and footwork, but when you don't have to then translate it to actually throwing the ball, it doesn't match up. So I think it's just a real benefit for him to be healthy and to go through a whole offseason."

Griese stressed that Purdy has also shown growth off the field, particularly in his leadership role. The quarterback has transitioned from being the last overall pick in the draft and a relatively unknown player to becoming the starting quarterback of a marquee franchise.

"I know it's no small feat to be the face of a franchise and leader of an organization," Griese commented. "And that takes time to get the confidence and be comfortable in that position and understand all the little things that you do during the course of a day, of a week, of a month, of a season, that lend into that. And Brock is growing in that area. And I think that's really cool."

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