Kyle Shanahan believes there is a possibility for Brock Purdy to be ready to return to the field during training camp.
Speaking during the Dwight Clark Legacy Foundation event in San Jose, Shanahan was asked to provide an update on Purdy and what the quarterback can do now that will help him when he is cleared to be ready to play.
“As long as Brock’s elbow heals right, he will be the exact same guy,” said Shanahan. “And when you have a clean break like that, or tear, it will be. You can’t have a setback and you can’t have something heal wrong, but everything has been completely on pace.
“Just watching him now, he’s doing the same drills all the other quarterbacks are doing. He’s just using a towel to throw. But still doing violent motions, still moving it, but he’s just not doing it with a football. He will get closer to that, and as long as there’s not a setback, we think he will be there in training camp [in July], but he can get so much better right now.”
Although Purdy is unable to throw, Shanahan can still improve and be even better than he was while leading the 49ers to eight straight wins.
“He can get so much better right now,” said Shanahan. “Last year he didn’t get a lot of reps. He came in about a week and a half from today which means he missed a whole month.”
“What we’ve been doing this last month is teaching our whole playbook. You have an hour and a half meeting about one play, that has so many different intricacies of it and a guy has never done it before. But he’s watching all these other people do it. Whether it’s eight different quarterbacks over 15 different years in all different situations and [now], at the end of it, he gets to see himself run it for seven plays last year.
“He gets to see Jimmy run it four times last year, he gets to see Trey do it one time. And then he can actually put himself in the situation. Now, I remember how those six clips felt. I remember those looks. I remember that coverage. I remember why I did good or bad. Now, what can I do going forward. Now those other 80 clips of other people actually mean something to me.”
For Purdy, the process of improving began before returning to Santa Clara for the start of OTA’s.
During an interview in late March, Purdy talked about the process he was going through to get ready to return and where he felt he needed to improve.
“Over the last month or so I’ve been watching some games. Going back to the basics of the playbook, my reads, and my footwork,” said Purdy. “Even formations and motions and things like that. You’ve got to start getting that ingrained in you before you go back, and that’s where I’m at.”
“As far as improving, just footwork. Being on time. Every concept has its own timing and there were times last year where you could tell I was still getting used to things. Even when I was playing. The timing of a slant to Brandon Aiyuk compared to Deebo Samuel. There are two different types of routes, so getting used to that kind of thing. That’s something I have to hammer away at in the offseason.”
Purdy’s emphasis on improving his footwork and timing falls in line with what Shanahan expects from his quarterback.
“No as he’s rehabbing, everything is about getting your feet and your eyes in the right spot,” said Shanahan. “I hope you’re born to throw because we’re not going to teach you very fast, this is the NFL. Brock can do all that, everyone can in our league, so it’s about how you play the game and Brock does that very naturally.”
“But now he’s actually looking at it, having experience, being able to learn everything and slow it down, and sit there. And to me when you can jump in there and go full speed, because he got the experience, and now he can just sit back and watch it, I think he’s going to be a hell of a lot better.”
Trey Lance update
During the owners meeting last month Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch stated Brock Purdy was the leader in the clubhouse to start at quarterback. Shanahan was asked how we should read where Trey Lance is now with the organization.
“We took Trey thinking he’d get an opportunity to play more because we knew where we were going to go eventually,” said Shanahan. “That didn’t happen, not because of anything against Trey. He wasn’t quite ready his first year and Jimmy (Garoppolo) was still on our roster.”
“Trey was going to go through a lot this year. And I believe he would have got to the level and done similar stuff (to Purdy). He missed that opportunity and Brock came in and did it.”
“I truly believe Trey can go do that, but Brock’s already done it. That’s a very good thing for us.”
Lance is fully cleared from the ankle injury which sidelined him in 2022. In talking about the ankle, Shanahan noted the finger injury from Lance’s rookie season and how it affected the quarterback long after.
“He broke that finger, and it didn’t heal right. Trey spent a whole year throwing without a bent finger, which changes everything, which shows the toughness of the kid. He never complained about it, he just tried to adjust so he could be out there. He spent a whole offseason just trying to rehab his grip so he could throw normal.”
Lance has spent this offseason working to rebuild his throwing motion. The early returns have been very promising.
“He has such a better base in the last two months,” said Shanahan. “I tjoml Trey’s the best we’ve had him right now.”
“Yeah, we’ve got to get him into OTA’s and practice, but when you just watch his feet, his timing, how he’s throwing the ball, he’s in such a better place than he was a year ago at this time.”
“We’ll present to him some football stuff when we get to OTA’s, we’re allowed nine of them. We’ll put players out there and we’ll see how he’s playing. We’ll let him and Sam (Darnold) roll. Then we’ll evaluate all that, take 40 days off and see how we want to lay it out in training camp.”