Kyle Shanahan's Brock Purdy anecdote sums up 49ers' rookie philosophy
Shanahan's anecdote on Purdy sums up 49ers' rookie philosophy originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers don't waste any time with young players on the roster, no matter if they are starting as a first-round pick or, say, the No. 262 overall and final pick of the draft.
Every rookie on the roster needs to be ready to contribute at a moment's notice.
"Rookie development is more just player development," coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. "This isn't college. You don't get redshirt years, and guys who think they do get that are usually out of the league in two to three years.
"If Brock Purdy would've thought he had this whole year, it would've ruined our whole team’s season. I try to tell that to running backs all the time, to wide receivers. We've played with, like, four to five backs, I think six years in a row, so the practice-squad guys are pretty important, too."
Purdy is perhaps the most glowing example of the 49ers' philosophy on rookies. Shanahan and his staff saw enough from the signal-caller in limited training camp reps to keep him on the 53-man roster instead of sending him to the practice squad and risking losing him on waivers.
"Trey [Lance] and Nate [Sudfeld] were taking the majority of the reps, and so I got a couple plays at the end of each period," Purdy reflected Wednesday. "For me, it was how can I do the reps that I have to the best of my ability, to do everything, the little things, right."
Purdy climbed up from an afterthought on the roster to the third-string quarterback, to the backup and now, he appears to be the 49ers' future at the position.
"I just kept it simple, went through my reads and showed them that I can take care of the simple plays that they give me throughout practice," Purdy said. "But I definitely wanted to have the opportunity that I had to show them that I can play, so that was just about building trust back then.”
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The rookie impressed teammates by learning the 49ers' playbook quickly. When star running back Christian McCaffrey arrived via trade in October, it was the 23-year-old Purdy -- just months into his NFL career -- who took time out to help McCaffrey study up.
“He doesn’t act like a rookie," McCaffrey told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. "He doesn’t act like a rookie in the huddle. And he plays with a calm confidence that is rare, especially in rookie quarterbacks.”
Purdy is one of one, there's no doubt. But he will be referenced as the perfect example for late-round draft picks for years to come.
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