Who should start under centre in San Francisco?

Who should start under centre in San Francisco?
Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Who should start under centre in San Francisco?

It’s not often that a team that reaches the Championship Game is in such a state of flux at QB going into the next season. That fate has befallen the 49ers this year. Once again, San Francisco have a roster built to compete. But there is one position with a real battle and complete uncertainty. 

Trey Lance started the year under centre but suffered a broken ankle. While he will be ready for the season, a disrupted offseason is not what he needs entering year three as a pro. 

Then came Jimmy Garropolo. Now he has gone, having crossed the border to Nevada during free agency to play for the Raiders. 

Following Jimmy G’s injury last year, the team turned to Brock Purdy. Who was an absolute sensation as a rookie, but sadly he too suffered an injury.

Despite all the upheaval under centre, the 49ers still reached the Championship Game. Thanks largely due to the overall quality of the squad. 

Now though the question becomes who will lead them into the 2023 season. Sam Darnold has been added to the roster. Although that is surely to add depth with both Lance and Purdy recovering from injury, rather than competition to start. 

Based on the pure stats, there is only one answer. Purdy has more wins than Lance has starts. Of course, wins aren’t all on the QB, but the stats back Purdy up too. The pedigree and potential of Trey Lance, not to mention the Niners’ investment in Lance, make it a worthy debate though. 

Even having traded up to draft Lance at 3, it would be unstandable if the Niners preferred Purdy. If that’s the case though, they have to get some value for Lance – which may be slim pickings. 

A complication under centre

One thing that complicates mattes is Brock Purdy’s elbow injury. Trey Lance is expected to recover for September. But that’s far less of a guarantee for Purdy. And then there’s the threat that he is never the same player again. Something we have seen with some baseball pitchers after Tommy John surgery. 

The other risk with Purdy is whether he can sustain his scintillating form. While he was stunning in seven starts as a rookie, teams will have time to create a gameplan to stifle him. The second season is what separates the good quarterbacks from the great.

Given Purdy’s significant injury late in the playoffs, it is not out of the question that the Niners would choose to start Purdy in Week 1. But he wouldnt be healthy enough to play by then. What do they do with Trey Lance then? Start him until Purdy is ready? Play Sam Darnold? If Purdy is healthy before the trade deadline, ideally Lance would play early in the season and improve his value before being traded. Although that wouldn’t be far off unprecedented. 

if they are not fully sold on Brock Purdy as a long term option, it’s likely his value will never be higher and now is the ideal time to cash in. 

It makes sense to get value for one of them and keep Darnold as a backup. But to be fair this was a team that ended up on their fifth choice QB through injury earlier in the year. Keeping an insurance option on the roster would be understandable.  Even at the expense of an additional receiver or edge rusher. 

In my opinion, it’s not up for debate. If he is healthy, start Brock Purdy – and it’s worth noting that the Niners can’t afford to rush him back. However, there will be serious questions to answer for the Front Office if they give up on Trey Lance after 4 starts over 2 years. Whatever the outcome, it will be an interesting off-season and beyond in San Francisco, with a lot of focus at Quarterback. 

Image: Mirror https://twitter.com/messages/media/1661102894769160196

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