49ers Mailbag: Will Brock Purdy break quarterback Pro Bowl drought?

On Friday I solicited questions for a 49ers mailbag on Twitter. The Faithful didn’t disappoint and deserve a big thank you for doing half the work with questions on a wide variety of topics. Let’s get to it.

@andrewh – The stable of running backs is deep this year. How do you see the carries being distributed amongst the backs and Deebo Samuel?

The pecking order will be Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, and Deebo Samuel. I expect to see Jordan Mason as the third running back due to his special teams ability. Wouldn’t expect to see Ty Davis-Price active on game days unless there is an injury.

The run distribution will look something like this: 15 for McCaffrey, 10 for Mitchell, with the other four or five split between Mason and Samuel.

@zachudamann – Who do you expect to be listed as a healthy scratch week one?

My projection would be Ty Davis-Price, Nick Zakelj, Brandon Allen, Brayden Willis, Ray-Ray McCloud, Jalen Graham, Kalia Davis.

@dancase83 – How many 49ers will be in the 1,000-yard club? Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle? Can we get all four?

It is not likely that all four of the names you mentioned will reach 1,000 yards. The last time the 49ers had two receivers go over that total in the same season was 1998 with Jerry Rice (1,157) and Terrell Owens (1.097).

McCaffrey will get there on the ground. I expect one of Aiyuk, Samuel or Kittle will hit that total in receiving yards.

@Shane Colamarino – It’s no secret the 49ers have gotten off to some slow starts. With Sam Darnold as the backup now, does that extend the leash for Brock Purdy if they start 3-3 to let them figure it out as before?

I don’t think Darnold’s presence has anything to do with Purdy’s leash. In fact, I think the only way Brock Purdy doesn’t start every game is through injury.

Kyle Shanahan’s belief in Purdy was evident in the way he called games last year. That has carried over to this offseason and training camp. Purdy has the potential to be the quarterback in San Francisco for a very long time.

My prediction is this will be the year a 49ers quarterback reaches the Pro Bowl for the first time since Jeff Garcia in 2002.

@sachabrady – My concern with the 49ers is that it feels like we’re built to be in the lead or in close games; we’re not built to chase games and score points quickly. The best teams can do both if they have to. Is my fear misplaced?

Yes, it is. When the 49ers need to push the ball down the field quickly, they are more than capable.  San Francisco finished 2022 with 75 plays gaining 20 or more yards. Only Kansas City (83) and Philadelphia (80) had more.

@j_churn – First game in Pittsburgh feels like it could be a tough one. If the 49ers lose that game, what do you think are the main reasons why?

Week one in Pittsburgh will be very tough. If the 49ers lose, I think it will be due to their Inability to stop the run and the effect that has on the offense.

San Francisco has struggled when facing teams who stay committed to the run. By doing this, the opponent takes possessions away. When this happens, Kyle Shanahan tends to get impatient and try to speed things up for his offense.

@ActualDanLavoie – What about the 49ers season are people probably not expecting but feels likely?

Nobody will be talking about the play of Colton McKivitz.

The only time people talk about the offensive line is when they are playing poorly. McKivitz has looked solid throughout the offseason with his footwork and hand placement. He is going to have some bad moments, every offensive lineman does, but his overall performance will be better than most have predicted.

@Odogg_99 – Nick Bosa isn’t worth being paid the highest non-quarterback salary in the league. Change my mind.

Bosa is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Since 2019 he has the fifth most sacks despite missing nearly all of 2020. His presence on the defense helps everyone else due to the focus he demands.

Plus, the 49ers Super Bowl are not Super Bowl contenders without him.

@sinnetone – Do you believe Kris Kocurek will have a bigger role on the sidelines this year given defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will be up in the booth?

This is a great question. Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans brought fire and passion to the 49ers sidelines. Where will that come from now?

Anyone who has spent time down in the corner of the practice field where the 49ers defensive line works can attest to the passion Kocurek brings every day. It would seem he will need to be the one to take over that role on game day.

Beyond that, all the defensive coaches will need to effectively communicate with their units. This isn’t different from years past but could take on added importance with Wilks only being able to communicate through them until halftime.

This article has 19 Comments

  1. Steelers 21 — Niners 17 in the opener to the 2023-24 season in which another Super Bowl eludes the hapless and hopeless Kyle Shanahan.

    1. And the real question for the day and season is in which game will Brock Purdy be injured, thanks to some bone-headed play call by KS?

  2. If only 4 million dollars separate the Niners from obtaining a signed contract. please, please pay him.

    1. Allie,
      I don’t know this for a fact but I think thats 4 mill per year or 16 mill over the length of the contract. That is a lot of money. That being said I agree with you because the Bosa’s don’t negotiate. They know their value and are going to stick to their price. Thats what happens when you are negotiating with already wealthy people. The 49ers have blown this negotiation from the beginning. They started negotiating too late and foolishly thought that Bosa would fold under pressure. imho

    2. Only $4M?….that’s $4M per season…that’s $16M-$20M, depending on the terms of the contract…assuming the contract offer to be in the $33M per season range..you’re looking at $37M per year, or $148M -$185M for the duration..and what about guaranteed money? What if he suffers a knee injury that keeps him off the field for an extended period, or, a career ending injury? They have a choice to make..pay him what he wants, or trade him…by paying him that kind of money, they limit themselves in contract negotiations for the immediate future..especially if the money is guaranteed…$33M per season is plenty..if he refuses that, make some calls and bid him adieu…

      1. 55,
        If you trade him it will be for draft picks, which means you will receive nothing this season. So we would be giving up on this season and trading for draft picks that we would have no idea where they will be in draft order. I don’t see them trading him at this point. The FO should have seen this coming and either traded him before the 23 draft or started negotiations as soon as the 22 season ended. They need to sign him today, give him what he wants and trade him after the 23 season if the deal is too much. I would rather sign him today, keep him for the long haul and trade Deebo if he has the huge season I see him having. Either way sign him NOW.

        1. Do they have the money to sign him? Bosa is an incredible player but 33 million per year isn’t enough?

          1. David,
            Renegotiating Bosa’s contract actually helps on this years cap. They can sign him have him play this year and then trade him before the 24 draft and never have to take on the big part of the contract.

  3. Jack will you be at all away-games this year?
    OC mentioned soft tissue issues for Bosa because of him skipping body contact. How do you see that jack?

    1. I will be in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles to open the season.

      Agree with OC. I think they want to get Bosa on the practice field for a few days before throwing him into a game.

  4. I just finished watching the first great football game of the 2023 college football season. Colorado pulled a huge upset over TCU. I’m pretty sure I saw the 2025 first pick of the NFL draft Shedur Sanders. All hail Prime Time #2.

    1. Deion is just amazing. Everything he touches is gold. I don’t understand why he gets the criticism he does. He did more for the HBCUs than pretty much anyone. Then they criticize him for a) being there, and b) leaving to do bigger things at Colorado.

      There is definitely a bit of a swagger there but behind the facade is a very good human being and phenomenal athlete back in his day. And everywhere he goes he’s a winner.

  5. It is not likely that all four of the names you mentioned will reach 1,000 yards. The last time the 49ers had two receivers go over that total in the same season was 1998 with Jerry Rice (1,157) and Terrell Owens (1.097).

  6. Noticed he didn’t answer the question I posed :

    Does he believe Steve Wilks will be a better DC than the previous one?

    Simple yes or no would’ve sufficed but he ignored it. oh well.

    1. I’m concerned about Steve Wilkes. When he was at Mizzou, the defense was awful. Teams ran the ball all over them. Granted, Missouri doesn’t have the same level of talent or depth that many of their SEC counterparts do, but I remember the defense being just bad. I really hope I’m wrong but I was happy to see him go. We will see.

  7. The Niners have two immediate tasks that are interconnected: get Bosa into camp so he is prepared for the season and improve the run defense. The negotiators don’t seem up to that first task, and the defense coordinator lacks the needed ability to handle the second one. As we near the beginning of the season I have growing concerns that expectations for the Niners may be misplaced.

  8. I believe that the run defense will greatly improve with Armstead and Hargrave playing
    full time. The concern for me is if these two starters miss time, who will effectively replace them? Our 2nd team run defense looked like butter throughout the preseason.

    I’m a little anxious on whether Wilks can continue to deliver and improve on last year’s great defense. This question will be answered soon enough.

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