Purdy is raw, but he’s a threat to Bucs

by Gary Shelton on December 8, 2022

in general

Thursday, 4 a.m.

He has never started an NFL game, not that anyone really expected him to.

He has completed all of 29 passes.

He has two whole touchdown passes, which id only 638 behind Tom Brady, the other guy.

There were 261 players drafted before him last year.

Yeah, Brock Purdy has the NFL right where he wants it.

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Purdy, 22, will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. But before you clap your hands in glee over the prospect, there are a couple o things you need to remember.

  1. The 49ers have played around their quarterback all season, and it's worked. The 49ers are a talented football team that doesn't rely heavily on its passing game. They have enough of a running game, and enough defense, to beat a .500 team like the Bucs.

2. The Bucs often make bad quarterbacks look good. This year, they've lost to P.J. Walker and Mitch Trubisky (filling in for Kenny Pickett) and Jacoby Brissett.

So Purdy will enter the game with absolutely no exceptions on him. If he plays well and the 49ers win, well, he's this genration's Ken Dorsey (who led a 49ers upset of the Bucs in 2005). If he is wobbly, heck, what can you expect from a kid making his first start?

"You try to go up against the scheme," said Bucs' coach Todd Bowles, talking about Purdey. "They've got a lot of talented players over there -- they're not going to change their scheme just because someone else is at quarterback. I think Kyle (Shanahan, the 49ers' coach) does a great job of doing things that the quarterback is comfortable doing. They have a wide variety of things they can do to make him feel comfortable. He's talented to begin with or he wouldn't be in this league.

"But they have a lot of talented players around hi and he's going up against a great defense every day in practice. He's not going to be nervous; he's going to play his game. We just have to play ours."

The thing is, there was a time you might have expected the Bucs to handle their business just fine (that was long ago). Time was, they dominated other team's running games.

This season, you can't count of it.

Oh, one of the Bucs' keys is to stop the run. They did that last week again the Saints, holding New Orleans to 66 yards on 25 carries. They did it against Seattle, holding the Seahawks to 37 yards on 14 carries. They did it in the opener against Dallas, giving up 71 yards on 16 carries.

But against Baltimore, they ave up 231 yards rushing. They gave up 189 to Cleveland. They gave up 173 to Carolina.

In other words, there are times the Bucs can be creased. If that happens with Jeff Wilson and Christian McCafferty, then Purdy will have an easy time hitting short passes and staying out of the way.

So it starts with the run. It demands long-yardage situations. It wants to force the game into Purdy's hands.

It seems to stretch to think that the Bucs' offense, which has struggled all season, will light up the San Francisco defense. Their best chance to play a low-scoring game.

And hope that Purdy does't join Walker, Trubisky and Brissett as the Four Horsemen.

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