San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is “excited” to start next season with Brock Purdy and Trey Lance as his two quarterbacks, even as both will spend much of the offseason rehabbing serious injuries.
Purdy could be sidelined until practice camp because of an elbow injury suffered in the NFC championship game. Lance is still recovering from a second operation on his fractured right ankle, but he is expected to be ready for the scheduled practice schedule over the offseason.
That uncertainty doesn’t mean the 49ers are looking for a veteran’s option to compete for a starting job on one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
“I know we have two starters on our team right now that I think we can win with, so when you have the right situation you don’t want to look around,” Shanahan said Wednesday.
Lance began the season as the starter, but was injured early in the second game. He threw just 102 passes in two NFL seasons after San Francisco traded three first-round picks to take him third overall in 2021.
Purdy came in without much fanfare as the final pick in the 2022 draft, but he shined late in the season after Lance’s replacement, Jimmy Garoppolo, suffered a broken foot.
The rookie won his first seven games as a starter before losing in the NFC Finals 31-7 to Philadelphia. Purdy strained his elbow on the opening drive and returned to play in the second half as an emergency plan, though he couldn’t throw the ball far because of a torn ligament in his right elbow.
Purdy is still seeking input on his treatment alternatives, but the safest scenario is an elbow repair that will allow him to return before next season starts.
“He’s following the process,” team general manager John Lynch said. “I think the positive part of the news is that this usually takes about six months.”
Under that scenario, Purdy could start his throwing schedule in three months and be in his old form before the start of the season.
“He (would) be the same guy and he’d be ready, so that was the most encouraging part I heard,” Shanahan said.
The quarterback added that he isn’t focused right now on who would start and isn’t worried about another layoff with questions about the quarterback after dealing with them the past two years.
Who is not in the plans of San Francisco is Garoppolo. He started 55 games over the past six seasons with the Niners. Garoppolo made a surprise return this season on a reduced contract when shoulder surgery jeopardized his market value.
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Shanahan ‘happy’ with Purdy and Lance as QBs for 2023