Between his younger football days, and even lining up with the embarrassment of the 49ers’ offensive riches, Brock Purdy is still learning that there are some plays he needs to cut bait on.
Purdy, who has just seven NFL regular-season and playoff games under his belt, was asked Thursday about the concept of throwing the ball away when there’s nothing to be gained in a given game even though he has electric playmakers at his disposal.
“We all know that if you can get the ball to Christian [McCaffrey],Debo [Samuel]Bachelor’s [Brandon Aiyuk],George [Kittle] “On a 2-yard pass, and then they can make something crazy happen,” Purdy told reporters after 49ers practice. “So, I feel like it’s always in the back of my mind, but at the same time, it’s like we’re bringing back every human being. They can get handled or something crazy can happen if you try to force it, so just throw it away. So, yeah, it’s something I’m continuing to learn.
Purdy completed 19 of his 29 attempts while throwing two touchdown passes in the 49ers’ 30-7 Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.
Purdy was sacked three times by Steelers star TJ Watt, but the second-year pro didn’t commit many other noteworthy fouls in his first regular-season game since suffering a torn MCL in his elbow during the NFC Championship game in January.
But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was seen during the game imparting decision-making wisdom to the young quarterback.
“I feel like growing up and playing football and all that stuff, it’s always been like, ‘Man, I can always have a chance to play, even if it’s not there,'” Purdy said. “So, sometimes you’re able to give up on playing, yeah, it’s kind of tough. Like, ‘Man, I have to throw the ball away and lose second to play third now.'” So, sometimes there are certain situations Where it’s like, “Man, I feel like I could do more,” but that’s what we preach and that’s what they believe in, and I totally support that.
“It’s about playing smart with the ball, and if we have to punt the ball and get it back to our defense, I’m all for that. We have a great defense. So, it’s about picking and choosing your battles with that.”
More than just having talent, NFL quarterbacks must have the ability to play smart and make quick — and correct — decisions to improve his team.
Purdy is not a physical specimen and there are certainly more talented athletes in the NFL, but Shanahan and the 49ers saw something in him, enough to justify using No. 262 and the final 2022 draft on him.
The 24-year-old was asked this week if his success might force NFL teams to adjust how they evaluate college quarterbacks entering the draft.
“Man, that’s kind of an inspiring question. I think it’s obviously about decision making, the ability to make decisions quickly, the right decision,” Purdy told reporters. It is clear then to handle the ball intelligently. I feel like if you can just do those things and do what the play caller tells you to do and not do too much, I think you can help put the team in a successful position.
“And that’s the thing that I’ve just tried to remind myself and not try to do too much, not try to be a superhero and do everything, but make the right decision in every game and do that consistently. And so, I don’t do that.” “I don’t necessarily know if that’s the thing that people are asking now if they’re going to draft a quarterback in the late rounds or not. But that’s the way I do it, and I think it works.”
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So far, Purdy is doing all the right things and has earned Shanahan’s trust. The 49ers moved on from Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance for the Iowa State product, which is a real vote of confidence.
Every week is a learning process for Purdy. He may still be making mistakes early in his NFL career, but he’s clearly working on improving his quick decision-making.
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