San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy has faced some recent criticism now that he is actually losing regular season games. Some of it is not warranted, such as what he chooses to do on his bye week. However, there is one thing that is becoming abundantly clear.
A big reason why Purdy has had the success he has had is because of what team he is on. The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the best teams in the NFL for several years. Some recent stats that came out show just how well they set Purdy up for success.
Wide Receivers Are Open
The title may sound simple, but when you look at this chart, you can see just how true it is. Of quarterbacks with at least 125 dropbacks, Purdy by far has the most wide-receiver separation. In other words, they make it very easy for a quarterback to drop back and throw a pass.
Some of this you can credit to San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. The play calls he designs arguably allow a lot of opportunities for a quarterback to complete an easy pass. Even backup QB Sam Darnold has stated how often players are open on the 49ers.
Shanahan alone does not deserve all of the credit for this kind of success. San Francisco’s general manager, John Lynch, deserves a lot of credit as well. The reason for this is because of the way the roster is built.
It is no secret that the 49ers pay Purdy very little money because he is on a rookie contract. On top of that, he was picked with the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. In other words, San Francisco pays him peanuts compared to some of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
This allows Lynch to take advantage of salary cap space and keep a lot of elite talent around Purdy. It includes playmakers such as RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Deebo Samuel, and TE George Kittle. As a result, it gives Purdy a plethora of good options to throw the ball to.
San Francisco 49ers’ Injuries
As good of a job, as the 49ers have done building a roster around Purdy, they still need those players to stay healthy. Recently, the injury bug has caught up to San Francisco. It meant key players such as McCaffrey, Samuel, and LT Trent Williams missing some time. Without players like this, you can argue that the 49ers’ scheme falls apart and Purdy is exposed.
The offensive production and team results certainly seem to reflect this. Before their bye week, they lost their last three games, with all of the guys above dealing with injuries at some point. The 49ers have averaged just over 21 points per game in this stretch.
Purdy has also had a much harder time protecting the football. He has thrown five interceptions in this stretch after not throwing one during his first five games. What is the takeaway here?
Some people may have been quick to call Purdy an elite quarterback. While he is certainly off to a good start in his NFL career, this data and recent injuries should show that his supporting cast is what makes it happen. Without everything working right, who knows how limited Purdy would be?