Shanahan 'content' with Purdy, Lance as top 2 QBs for 2023
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is “content” going into next season with Brock Purdy and Trey Lance as the top two quarterbacks for the 49ers even after both head into the offseason rehabilitating major injuries.
Purdy could be sidelined until training camp with an elbow injury suffered in the NFC championship game, while Lance is still recovering from a second operation on his broken right ankle but is expected to be ready for the offseason program.
But that uncertainty doesn't mean the 49ers are looking for a veteran option to compete as the starter on one of the NFL's most talented rosters.
“I know we have two starters on our team right now that I believe we can win with, so when you have that situation, you’re not that eager to go looking around," Shanahan said Wednesday.
Lance began the season as the starter but got hurt early in his second game. He has thrown only 102 passes in two seasons in the NFL after San Francisco traded three first-round picks to draft him third overall in 2021.
Purdy came in with much less fanfare as the last pick in the 2022 draft but shined late in the season after Lance's replacement, Jimmy Garoppolo, went down with a broken foot.
Purdy won his first seven starts before losing 31-7 to Philadelphia in the NFC championship game. Purdy hurt his elbow on the opening drive and returned to play the second half in an emergency even though he couldn't throw the ball more than a few yards because of a torn ligament in his right elbow.
Purdy is still seeking additional opinions on his treatment options, but the most likely scenario is a repair to the elbow that would allow him to be back before the start of next season.
“He’s continuing to go through that process,” general manager John Lynch said. “I think the positive bit of news is that it seems to be consistent that the right approach is that one that takes about that six-month mark.”
Under that scenario, Purdy would be able to start a throwing program in about three months and be back to his old self well before the start of next season.
"He (would be) the same dude and full go, so that was the most encouraging part that I heard,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan said he wasn't focused at this point on who would go into training camp as the starter and wasn't worried about another offseason of questions at quarterback after dealing with those the past few years.
“I don’t think there’s much to handle," he said. “One guy can’t go and the other guy should be ready for OTAs.”
One quarterback not in San Francisco's plans is Garoppolo, who started 55 games over the past six seasons for the Niners. Garoppolo returned this season as a surprise on a reduced contract when offseason shoulder surgery hurt his trade market.
When asked about a possible Garoppolo return for 2023, Shanahan said: “I don’t see any scenario of that.”
In other news:
— Shanahan said he has started looking for a new defensive coordinator after DeMeco Ryans was hired as head coach in Houston. He said he's looking for someone who can run a similar defense that Ryans did and wants to keep as many of his defensive assistants as possible.
"I’m hoping to find someone who fits with us personality-wise and scheme wise,” he said.
— Shanahan said two of his assistants have been requested for offensive coordinator interviews. Niners passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik will interview in Houston. Running backs coach Anthony Lynn is a candidate in Washington.
— Lynch said he plans to return for a seventh season as general manager. He was offered a broadcasting job last offseason by Amazon, but remains focused on winning a Super Bowl with the 49ers.
“I’m committed to doing this and I’m having a great time doing it and committed to finding a way to get a little bit better,” he said.
— Lynch said locking up All-Pro defensive end Nick Bosa with a long-term deal is a priority. He expects to get it done, but many of San Francisco's big-ticket extensions haven't gotten finalized until July.
“It takes time, it takes patience, it takes persistence, and we’ll have that on our side,” Lynch said.
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Josh Dubow, The Associated Press