Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race In The Perspective Of Chase’, a close to daily NFL article previewing your favorite teams season! The San Francisco 49ers will be a very interesting team to watch for a ton of reasons this upcoming year! Is Brock Purdy good enough to lead this team success, and will he replicate what he did last season? Will Deebo Samuel go back to his 2021 self after an injury decimated 2022 campaign? And will San Fran finally get over the hump after three NFC championships and one Super Bowl appearance in three years? Here is everything you need to know about the San Francisco 49ers going into 2023!
It has to be answered: Is Brock Purdy the long-term answer?
A lot changed for San Francisco from the start of the season to the end. The season started off with 2021 #3 overall pick Trey Lance at the helm, and he went 15-31 for 194 yards with no touchdowns and one interception through the air before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Coming in for him was long-time veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who played very well in his time at starting quarterback. a 67% completion rate, 16 touchdowns, just interceptions and an 103.0 passer rating.
But when he went down with a season ending foot injury in Week 13, it all came down to the last pick in the 2022 draft Brock Purdy, and Mr. Irrelevant completed 67% of his passes for 8.1 yards per attempt, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions, and he had the best passer rating out of any quarterback in the final games of the season. Purdy started 7-0 with San Francisco, before getting hurt in the NFC championship game, which San Francisco lost to Philadelphia. But overall, it looked like this was Purdy’s team long-term.
The Niners traded for Christian McCaffrey mid-season after the injury of Elijah Mitchell, and McCaffrey had over 1200 yards of scrimmage with San Francisco in just eleven games, proving himself once again as one of if not the best running back in the game! Mitchell however did accumulate close to 56 yards per game in his minimal action, so his role could be an interesting one in 2023. Receiving wise, Brandon Aiyuk had over 1,000 yards as the top pass catcher on the team, and George Kittle had over 750 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 15 games. Deebo Samuel–a 2021 1st-Team All Pro recipient–on the other hand had just 864 yards of scrimmage in 13 games, and who know’s if his spot as a primary option in San Francisco will stay. Also, Trent Williams was one of the best offensive lineman in the game once again!
And the 49ers may have had the best defense in the league last year. It all started with the Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa, who’s 18.5 sacks awarded him a 1st-Team All Pro appearance and an $170 million dollar contract, the largest for a defensive lineman in history! Drew Greenlaw totaled 127 tackles, but Fred Warner may be the best linebacker in the game, as he had a team leading 130 tackles and an 85.7 PFF rating, the second best among all linebackers in the game. Talanoa Hufanga was also amazing, as he had close to 100 tackles with four interceptions, and his First-Team All Pro appearance mad San Fran the only team in the league to have three players on the All Pro team!
Overall, San Fran came so close again, with an NFC championship loss. But there were many question marks around who San Francisco was going to start at quarterback in 2023, and how this roster would shape out. The 49ers essentially made no meaningful moves in free agency, and they didn’t have a 1st or 2nd round pick either, so they didn’t really improve through the draft. This is just the same team…outside of two guys.
The 49ers let go of Jimmy Garoppolo, which has been expected for a while now. But finally seeing it happen does feel weird after all that has happened over the last few years. The 49ers then added Sam Darnold, making Purdy, Lance and Darnold the biggest quarterback battle of training camp. Because they all have their strength’s, and they all have their doubts and weaknesses. The Niners stuck with Purdy as the starter, and actually chose Darnold over their former first round pick. And then that happened…
The 49ers traded Trey Lance to the Cowboys for mid-tier draft capital. And for a player they traded three first round picks to select TWO SEASONS AGO, it is obviously disappointing. And the fact that San Francisco has made two NFC championship’s since just shows how good of an overall team they do have. But the main question is, should they have given Lance another chance? We may never know. But they have a quarterback that lost one game in eight tries including a postseason birth, and they’ve made two NFC championships in this disappoint span with him. They don’t need him, whether it could have worked out or not. So letting him go was definitely the right decision. And Darnold is a solid presence to back up Purdy!
What I said is only true though if Brock Purdy continues to play great football. Now, I’m not expecting him to play at the same level that he played at last season, because they was a quarterback that made a team undefeated for seven games in a row. But he was Mr. Irrelevant for a reason. Could he be figured out? We will have to see. But even if he’s not as good last year, all San Fran needs is for him to be serviceable around this talented team for them to succeed. For them to win a Super Bowl though, he is going to have to play decent football, which I think he can do.
Overall, with all of the crazy situations that are going on, San Francisco is one of the best overall teams in the league! They have the best running back, offensive lineman, edge rusher and linebacker in the game. That’s why the’ve made two straight NFC championship games. And as long as this team stays healthy, the Niners are going to be right there late in the season once again!
Prediction: The 49ers win their division, but lose another NFC championship!
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