Shanahan: Purdy ‘would have to melt in practice' to lose 49ers job originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
“He would have to melt in practice to lose [the job]," Shanahan said in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. "And Brock’s too good of a player to melt in practice—and so are the other guys.”
Shanahan continues to express complete and utter confidence in Purdy, who -- if he stays in solid form (literally and figuratively) -- will be under center for San Francisco against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 and presumably throughout the 2023 season.
San Francisco's head coach also told Breer that it took three games for Purdy to establish himself as the 49ers' full-time starter and that Purdy would have started the Super Bowl had San Francisco advanced, even if veteran Jimmy Garoppolo was cleared to play.
Shanahan and the 49ers always knew Purdy, if healthy, was the starter in 2023. After undergoing surgery in March to repair a torn UCL in his throwing elbow, it was unknown if Purdy would be cleared in time for the start of the season, but Shanahan and the coaching staff still were confident in their contingency plans.
“He’s been [the starter] since last year ended,” Shanahan told Breer. “He was always clearly our starter, but there were so many questions about his injury, how he’d come back from it, that we didn’t even know if he’d be ready for this year, so we had to prepare for everything else. I mean, Trey was the guy we gave the keys to last year, so we were definitely excited to have him in a situation [to play], and we also didn’t know if Brock would be back, so we needed someone to come in and at least compete with Trey, and give us a chance, because Trey was hurt last year, and just got cleared before OTAs.
“That’s why we brought Sam [Darnold] in here. And those guys have been competing their butts off, and I feel great playing with those guys. But like I told them, like I’ve said to media, like I said to everyone since Day 1, based on what Brock did on tape last year, it’s hard to beat that out in practice.”
After Purdy was cleared and on hand for the start of training camp, any speculation regarding who the 49ers' starter was immediately was put to rest. The job belongs to Purdy, and it will stay that way until he struggles so badly that it forces Shanahan's hand.