Shanahan recalls how Purdy earned 49ers roster spot in preseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The 49ers had a tough decision heading into the 2022 NFL season. San Francisco could hang on to three quarterbacks or cut Brock Purdy, their 2022 seventh-round selection, to keep another position player.
The decision ultimately came down to the preseason, when 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, the coaching staff and front office executives got a better look at Purdy's game.
San Francisco opted to keep the Iowa State product, something Shanahan is thankful for not only because of the season-ending injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, but because the offensive-minded coach knew he couldn't let that type of talent walk away.
"When you get a quarterback where we did, and you already have two guys in an ideal world, you're hoping to keep that guy in the practice squad," Shanahan told reporters Wednesday. "But he was looking so good, and it's reps in practice that eventually we let him go in the game, and then he looked that way in the game, so we thought it'd be way too much of a risk to lose him.
"So that's why we end up having to make the decision we did, which isn't always fun for overall roster, but I'm sure glad we did it. And he looked that way right away. And so he has a natural ability to play the position. And that's why he's fun to coach. Because when he does make mistakes and do things, he can see it. He's can know why we can see it, and we can all understand it, which gives them a chance to get better."
Purdy's traits didn't only impress Shanahan, which resulted in the signal-caller staying on the 53-man roster. 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel revealed that he too took notice of Purdy's qualities since the preseason.
"I kind of, like, say this all the time, but I go back to preseason against Houston, how he just had this attitude and this competitive edge of himself was like, he doesn't care if you mess up," Samuel told reporters Wednesday.
"If you do it, he's going to do it full speed and then we'll talk about it at the end of the day. But just how I've seen him grow throughout the whole year, from getting zero snaps to being a starter of this team."
The 49ers' belief in Purdy has helped the quarterback thrive under center. While San Francisco isn't putting too much on his shoulders, Purdy has shown he can help lead the offense, like in the 49ers' wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks.
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"When we played Seattle that week and everything, [Shanahan] did say it was good preparation for what we might have to play in, in terms of the playoffs, going on the road for road games and obviously for Philadelphia," Purdy said. "Everything in these kinds of games is all about communication.
"How can you operate smoothly, get in and out of the huddle, get the play off in the right way, make sure everyone's on the same page, so that's definitely a big emphasis this week just at practice with the little things, the details of communicating and being on point. And that starts with the cadence, so it's going to be huge for us."
As a result, Purdy has the 49ers one victory away from Super Bowl LVII, and all that's standing in his way are the Philadelphia Eagles. Mr. Irrelevant will display the traits the team saw in him early on when the 49ers take on the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game while dealing with a hostile atmosphere.
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