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#pounditWednesday, September 27, 2023

1 QB the ‘clear favorite’ to start season for 49ers?

Kyle Shanahan in a 49ers cap

Oct 3, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan walks on the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to begin the 2023 season without Brock Purdy, but there is a growing sense that they will not have to.

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area wrote on Monday that Purdy is the “clear favorite” to start for the Niners in Week 1. Purdy, who is recovering from elbow surgery, began throwing a regulation-size football last week and has made significant progress.

In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week, 49ers general manager John Lynch described Purdy as the “leader in the clubhouse” to be under center when the 2023 season begins. Though, Lynch did say Sam Darnold and Trey Lance have an opportunity to compete for the job.

Purdy injured his elbow during San Francisco’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. He underwent surgery on March 10. The timeline for him to make a full recovery has been placed at around 12 weeks, which would be Aug. 21. That is roughly three weeks before the 2023 regular season will begin.

Lynch and Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan have essentially confirmed that the starting job is Purdy’s when the former Iowa State star is fully cleared. That is hardly a surprise after Purdy led San Francisco on a deep playoff run with his steady play.

Lance, whom the 49ers drafted No. 3 overall two years ago, is said to be making serious improvements this offseason. The team once viewed him as a potential franchise quarterback, but Purdy cemented his status as first on the depth chart last season.

Health is the only thing that can stand in the way of Purdy starting in Week 1. Given the way things look, Lance and Darnold may be competing for a primary backup job in training camp.


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