The QB Carousel Continues

Injuries are part of the game, but it is almost unthinkable that the 49ers have gone through two quarterbacks and are now down to a third-string rookie. As favorites to win the NFC West and possibly even the Super Bowl, the 49ers cannot seem to catch a break and their hopes continue to dwindle with every new injury they face. Let’s take a look at how they got to where they are.

A couple of drafts ago, the 49ers gave up three picks in order to acquire Trey Lance third overall. Lance played a significantly low number of games in his college career at North Dakota state, it is safe to say the 49ers took a gamble. After sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo throughout the 2021 season, save for two games where he started due to Garoppolo being injured, Lance had finally been named the starter ahead of the 2022 season. Lance is everything that Garoppolo is not, and this is not a knock to the veteran quarterback, just a difference in skillsets. Lance is quick and a reminder of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the way that he can carry the ball in order to move the chains. Lance is also able to take deep shots down the field to players such as Danny Gray and Brandon Aiyuk, as he showed in his limited amount of starts.

The 49ers thought they were getting a dual-threat quarterback who had the potential to get them over that final hump in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Lance went down with a gruesome broken ankle injury in the second game of the season versus the Seattle Seahawks. While this did not effectively end the 49ers’ season as they luckily had Jimmy Garoppolo on the bench, it disrupted an offense that had been practicing together throughout the entire training camp. Garoppolo did not train with the team at all, as he was on a side field due to the belief that he would get traded before the season since the team had moved on to Lance.

During the offseason, Jimmy Garoppolo had surgery on his throwing shoulder after continuing to play through an injury during San Francisco’s playoff run. If Garoppolo did not get this surgery, he would have most likely been on a different team heading into the 2022 season. Many organizations were rightly skeptical about trading for him considering he was not able to fully throw until a month before training camp. Garoppolo also has a previous injury history as he had surgery on a torn ACL and missed time due to an ankle sprain. These factors led to San Francisco restructuring Garoppolo’s contract as he agreed to stay on the team as a backup for the 2022 season. This proved to be a smart move by the 49ers because they had good insurance when Lance went down in the first quarter of week two. It took a beat for the offense to click after three frustrating losses with Garoppolo, but the 49ers finally started to win as they headed into their bye week.

Since the week’s rest, Garoppolo was playing the best football of his career because he was limiting his turnovers and converting more in the red zone. Under Garoppolo, the 49ers were looking to go into a five-game win streak as they were hosting an incredibly skilled Miami Dolphins team. The morning of this game, rumors came out about Garoppolo potentially staying in the bay for another season, especially if he was able to lead them to yet another playoff appearance. However, as what seems to be the story of the 49ers’ season thus far, Garoppolo went down in the first quarter with a broken foot. Rookie Brock Purdy out of Iowa State came in to relieve Garoppolo.

If someone had said that Brock Purdy would be the 49ers’ starting quarterback come December football, no one would have believed it. San Francisco has been plagued by injuries all over the field, and clearly, the quarterback position is no different. This twisted fate is how a possible Super Bowl contender is now down to a third-stringer within the most important role on the field. Not only that but Purdy is deemed ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ due to falling last in the draft. However, he has been anything but irrelevant. It could be said that Purdy leading the 49ers to a win over the Dolphins was merely a fluke because Miami’s defense was not prepared for a quarterback change, and yet Purdy crushed Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following week in his first-ever start. Throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for one, Purdy was the first rookie quarterback to beat Brady. While the Buccaneers are not playing like a top team in the NFC, they are still holding onto a playoff spot as they sit on top of the NFC South with a subpar record. So, Purdy’s performance in this win should not be brushed aside.

With two big wins already under his belt, Purdy could really crown the 49ers as king of the NFC West and lead San Francisco to the playoffs in his rookie year. This could raise a big question; who would be QB1 heading into the 2023 season if Purdy continues to play as he has been? The quarterback carousel in San Francisco continues. 

Author

  • moniquereil

    Football, basketball and soccer fan. Currently a fourth-year student-athlete studying history, English and graphic design.

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