Montana offers intriguing take on Purdy ‘game manager' discussion

Montana offers intriguing take on Purdy ‘game manager' discussion originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Leading up to the 49ers' Super Bowl LVIII matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium, NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy continues to receive the “game-manager” tag and other harsh criticisms.

The latest to enter the arena and address the noise? San Francisco legend and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana.

On Friday’s episode of ESPN’s “Pat McAfee Show,” the four-time Vince Lombardi Trophy winner offered an intriguing analysis of Purdy’s role with the 49ers.

“The thing I see [with Purdy] is something that I figured out early on in my career --  what the offense is about," Montana told McAfee. "It wasn’t about me. It was about getting the ball to the people who knew what to do with it because I’m the mailman -- [the football] doesn’t belong to me -- I want to get it to somebody who knows how to run, knows how to catch.

“We had, especially late in my career, guys like Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones [and] Roger Craig -- all you have to do is get the ball to them. If you look at the weapons Brock’s working with, he’s figured that offense out. He understands what his position is. He doesn’t try to make a big play. He knows when that chance will come and when he needs to do it, but in most cases, it’s okay to punt. ‘I got a pretty good defense, too,’ and that’s what we had, pretty much the same thing.

“[Purdy] understands [his role], he’s calm in [the pocket]. He has a great presence and he’s not trying to knock you out with the football. He delivers a great, catchable ball.”

Montana credits Purdy for understanding his responsibilities within coach Kyle Shanahan’s dominant, star-studded offense.

The 67-year-old even sees glimpses of himself in the young Iowa State product, as Montana was surrounded by talent like Rice and Taylor, whom he mentioned, similarly to how Purdy passes to stars like Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle.

However, Montana offered an interesting take on the 49ers offense’s overall success, describing Purdy’s importance under center.

“[Purdy] hasn’t had the chance to work with other receivers and I think that’s not a negative on him, it’s just that people haven’t seen him do that yet,” Montana explained. “Obviously, there was some reason that the 49ers selected him [with the] last pick in the [2022 NFL Draft], the things that they saw on tape.

“I don’t think it’ll matter who’s out there. Right now, [Purdy’s] fortunate because he’s got some pretty good studs out there who can give him the ball and go the distance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody’s had those in their lifetime. So I don’t even think about that twice. It’s a plus for him.”

If anyone would know what it takes to lead San Francisco to glory, it’s Montana, as the former quarterback remains the 49ers' all-time leader in passing yards (35,124), passing touchdowns (244) and completions (2,929).

Purdy, who’s thrown for 5,654 yards and 44 touchdowns across his first two seasons, has a long way to go to reach No. 16 in San Francisco’s record books.

But the second-year signal-caller continues to impress, proudly leading the 49ers to their eighth Super Bowl appearance.

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