Outkick the Coverage

Outkick the Coverage

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49ers' Plan For QB Battle is Revealed

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he expects both Trey Lance and Sam Darnold to take reps with the first-team offseason while Brock Purdy recovers from surgery this offseason, according to the Athletic's David Lombardi.

Shanahan addressed reporters at the NFL meetings on Tuesday (March 28) and confirmed that Purdy is still the "leader in the clubhouse" but his rehabilitation process has yet to be determined.

"We'll see in 3 months if he can be ready for camp, or possibly not," Shanahan said via Lombardi. "Or if it's going to be a little slower, it might be Week 1. I'm hearing at the latest Week 4, but that's all estimations and we'll see what happens."

The 49ers signed Darnold, a former No. 3 overall pick, earlier this month amid Lance's recovery from a knee injury and Purdy's recent surgery from an injury he experienced during the NFC Championship Game.

Purdy "underwent successful surgery" on his injured throwing arm elbow on March 10 and is expected "to start a throwing progression program in three months," the 49ers announced on their official website.

"San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy underwent successful surgery with renowned specialist Dr. Keith Meister this morning," the Niners said. "Dr. Meister conducted an internal brace repair to Purdy's right elbow. Purdy is anticipated to start a throwing progression program in three months."

Purdy had postponed surgery at the recommendation of Meister in February, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported at the time. The 23-year-old was reported to be dealing with inflammation in his elbow, which has led to Meister's decision and the two reconvened earlier this month, but "all signs continue to point to a UCL repair," which would allow the quarterback to possibly be ready for the 2023 NFL season, Pelissero reported at the time.

"The best outcome for the so-called internal brace surgery comes once inflammation is gone and range of motion is back. Delaying surgery doesn’t change the timeline much, so this is the prudent course of action to make sure Purdy returns at 100%," Pelissero tweeted.

In January, sources with knowledge of the situation told Pelissero that Purdy suffered a complete tear of the UCL in his throwing elbow during the Niners' NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The quarterback was anticipated to need surgery, however, not reconstruction, which increased his odds of being ready by training camp, according to Pelissero.

"If indeed Brock Purdy can have the UCL repaired and avoid Tommy John, the standard timeline for return is 6 months, giving him a chance to be ready right around the start of camp," Pelissero tweeted at the time.

Purdy injured his right elbow during the 49ers' opening drive and missed the remainder of the first half, returning midway through the third quarter and being limited to just 23 yards on 4 of 4 passing. The rookie starter's replacement, Josh Johnson, also suffered injuries, which forced San Francisco to play a run-heavy offense, despite trailing by double-digits late.

"How does it feel to lose an NFC Championship Game because I don't have a quarterback? Pretty sh--ty, to be honest," said tight end George Kittle via ProFootballTalk.

Both quarterbacks combined to throw for just 83 yards on 11 of 18 passing. Purdy took over for former starter Jimmy Garappolo -- who replaced former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance in Week 2 -- during Week 13 of the NFL season and led the Niners to a 5-0 record in five starts, as well as a 2-1 record in the postseason before being eliminated by the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

Purdy threw for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions on 114 of 170 passing during the regular season, as well as 569 yards and three touchdowns on 41 of 63 passing during the playoffs.

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