Brock Purdy was named a finalist for the NFL offensive rookie of the year. Considering Purdy’s season began in relief of Jimmy Garoppolo on December 4th against Miami, this could be considered a surprise.
Argument aside, Purdy has impressed in his eight appearances, winning each game. Nate Sudfeld was signed to a guaranteed contract to back up Trey Lance in 2022. Purdy progressed during OTAs, training camp, and preseason.
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers decided to move on from Sudfeld in favor of Purdy. Shanahan was asked about what led to the decision following the 49ers’ victory over Dallas:
Back in August, you guys cut Detroit Lions QB Nate Sudfeld even after giving him that guaranteed contract. What did you see in Brock in OTAs and training camp that made you guys confident enough in him to do that?
“When he first started out he got such few reps because of how many reps we were giving to [QB] Trey [Lance] and how much we were given to Nate, but every time he got his one or two reps in practice, just how decisive he was and got the ball to the right spot and did it aggressively. Never seemed unsure of anything and so he kept earning more reps and the more reps we gave him the more he continued to look the same and didn’t take any steps back then he carried it over to some of the preseason games. So by the end of that, it was pretty easy to see how Brock was coming and we knew we wanted to keep him on the roster and not risk him going to practice squad, so it was a decision we had to make.”
The best examples of Purdy’s confidence and Shanahan’s confidence in him are the final drive of the first half and the final drive of the game for the 49ers.
To end the half, Shanahan began with two runs followed by five pass attempts that moved the 49ers into field goal range. The final two passes were incomplete, including Purdy’s final throwaway leaving one second on the clock for Robbie Gould.
With the final drive, the 49ers were looking to kill as much clock, which usually begins with a rush attempt. The first play was a completion to George Kittle for a first down. Purdy would attempt only one more pass on the drive, but Shanahan was confident in Purdy not only convert but make the correct decision with the football.
Purdy and the 49ers face their biggest test on Sunday in Philadelphia. Kyle Shanahan is a believer, and for good reason.