Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and 3 other superstar having issues with coach Kyle Shanahan and other coaching staff over……..

Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and 3 other superstar having issues with coach Kyle Shanahan and other coaching staff over……..

San Francisco’s unlikely starting quarterback has grown from an unknown quantity to the verge of history with hard work, consistency and risk taking

When teams selected the NFL stars of the future in the 2022 draft, no one wanted to go anywhere near Brock Purdy – and it was hard to blame them. He had a good college career at Iowa State but the scouting reports hardly screamed The Next Tom Brady: “throwing is more of a chore than a talent”, “lacks quickness”, “a scrappy runner but not dynamic”, “shies away from tight throws”. At least Purdy was consistent: by the sport’s exacting standards, he appeared to be bad at everything.

but the San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan, known as one of the finest offensive-minded head coaches in the NFL, had been impressed by Purdy’s tape from college and selected him with the 262nd – and final – pick of the draft, a position that each year earns one player the nickname “Mr Irrelevant” and plenty of derision on social media.

When Purdy turned up for the 49ers’ summer training camp it was debatable whether he would even make the roster: he was their fourth-choice quarterback – most teams only carry three – and it wouldn’t have been a surprise if he was back working for his family’s hot-tub business in Arizona before the season rolled around. But he did make it and then last year, in his rookie season, strange things happened.

First, the team’s starter Trey Lance, whose speed and strength made him a star quarterback on paper, went down injured. Then back-up Jimmy Garoppolo, whose movie-star good looks made him appear a star quarterback on camera, was injured too. In trundled Purdy who looked, at best, like someone who may be able to avoid embarrassing himself. But he promptly led the 49ers to seven straight wins and their season only ended when he was injured in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, who went on to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

The unexpected success hasn’t gone to Purdy’s head. Friends from high school told ESPN this week that he was “serious, mature and passionate about school and faith” as a teenager. He appears to be the same old soul now: he drives a beat-up Toyota and shares an apartment with a teammate to save money in the Bay Area, where the rent can be soul-sapping even when you make six figures. (Purdy will presumably find his own place when he gets married next month.)

Patrick Mahomes (right) chats with Brock Purdy during media duties in Las Vegas

This season he won the starting job for good – San Francisco had enough confidence in him to trade Lance and Garoppolo to other teams after they had dallied with the idea of luring Brady out of retirement – and he has gone one game better than last season, leading the 49ers to Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Purdy’s detractors say if he appears to be ordinary it’s because he is. His success, they would have you believe, is a product of circumstance not talent. He is surrounded by brilliant players on the offense, such as running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and offensive tackle Trent Williams, who are among the best in the league at their respective positions. Added to that, due to no one expecting much of him coming out of college, Purdy makes close to the league minimum salary which means the 49ers can afford to sign big names elsewhere on the roster.

But all this does the 24-year-old a disservice: the 49ers are much better with him than they were with Lance and Garoppolo and while he doesn’t excel in a specific skill set, he does it all pretty well, and he can execute every play Shanahan draws up for him as it is designed (something that can’t be said for every quarterback in the league).

This season Purdy led the league in passer rating, attempts of 20 or more yards, and threw the third-most touchdowns. There’s also a little bit of the gambler in the strait-laced Purdy: he’s guaranteed to make at least one wildly inadvisable throw a game, which either ends in triumph or disaster. And, despite his lack of searing pace, he can make plays running the ball, which he did several times against the Detroit Lions last month as the 49ers booked their place in the Super Bowl.

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