Kawakami: Brock Purdy’s moment and Kyle Shanahan’s most complete season in the 49ers

It’s certainly not the most pressing issue for Kyle Shanahan right now, but let’s say it now loud and clear: He may never have to hear about his losing training record again. And by the way, I really don’t think he liked hearing that.

The math is easy. The conclusion is easier. Thanks to this current six game 49ers Winning streak, the 49ers are 9-4, they just clinched back-to-back records (the first since the 49ers had wins in Jim Harbaugh’s first three seasons), they can also claim the NFC West with a win over Thursday in Seattle and it’s now 48-46 In the middle of Shanahan’s sixth regular season. Add in the 4-2 postseason mark for the 49ers under Shanahan and that’s four comfortable games over . 500 as the 49ers leader, as it stands now.

It might fluctuate a bit in the near term Brooke PurdyOblique injury limiting from Seahawks The game, but the 49ers have dealt with so much drama in the quarterback and have so much momentum this season, I’m assuming they’ll figure things out and adapt successfully if they have to.

Of course, fighting his way above . 500 for the first time with the 49ers really shouldn’t be that big of a deal for a coach who was always considered one of the league’s brightest offensive minds and who led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth three seasons ago and back to the NFC Championship Game last season. Coaches who inherit terrible rosters (like the 49ers when Shanahan and John Lynch took over in 2017) always work hard.

Bill Walsh went 8-24 in his first two seasons with the 49ers and 84-35-1 with them after that. Walsh did not get his career record above . 500 until 1984, his fifth season, when the 49ers went 15-1 and won their second Super Bowl. Jimmy Johnson also went together 8-24 in his first two seasons in Dallas. although Cowboys They were 36-12 in three more seasons under Johnson. After that, Johnson didn’t get his career record above . 500 until his fifth and final season in Dallas, when the Cowboys went 12-4 in 1993 and won their second and final Super Bowl of the Johnson era.

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The 49ers haven’t won a Super Bowl under Shanahan (yet?), and I’m in no way saying he’s the next Walsh. But other than that, the Walsh/Johnson pattern has held up decently: The 49ers went 10-22 in Shanahan’s first two seasons. Since then, they range from 38 to 24 in the regular season and 42 to 26 in the postseason.

And now Shanahan has passed . 500 for a career high in 49 years. Again, it shouldn’t be such a huge deal as a number – Shanahan and Lynch had no problem with Jed York. They were never on the hot seat. The last thing York wants is another hunt for coaching and a general manager, and he knows he’s good with those two. But it’s an interesting and fitting milestone because all of this is happening in the middle of Shanahan’s fullest coaching season.

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Brock Purdy’s revelational debut as the 49ers’ QB1

It’s not just about the QBs, but I will point out that Shanahan has lost Tri Lance And the Jimmy Garoppolo, his two biggest QBs of the season, and so far the 49ers are stronger. I will point out that Shanahan is an attack-minded guy who likes to set up his defense, which may not always produce the nicest offensive stats but is certainly appreciated by the 49ers defensive personnel. I will point out that we all have some question marks about the makeup of the offensive line starting this season, but that one looks better every week.

I will point out that this is one of the most mature and stable teams out there NFLwhich is exactly how the 49ers can handle losing this season’s many QBs and other key players for weeks at a time and adjust to adding Christian McCaffrey On the fly and keep rolling. It’s already been a great season for the 49ers and Shanahan, and bigger things are to come.

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This is what usually happens when a talented coach reaches his prime years. This is now for Shanahan. All of the puzzle pieces he and Lynch began putting together in 2017 seem to click into place, all of their smartest plans work and all of their best improvisations look pretty clever. They made some mistakes along the way, but all admin groups do. None of this will be easy. Even so, Shanahan and Lynch built it right.

This does not mean that the 49ers will win the Super Bowl this season. If they didn’t, I’m sure there would be complaints about Shanahan. But he and Lynch created a win-win situation with the winning players. And it’s now statistically a winning era, too.


Let’s go back to the QB case. I’m wondering: Is Purdy an interesting combination of the two men Shanahan had in mind when he got the third pick in the 2021 draft – Lance (movement, high personality) and Mac Jones (field vision, pocket presence)? Can. I’ll give some of Garoppolo’s obvious characteristics (quick release, quiet ride) as well.

We’ll see and know more once Purdy is on the road and gets into bigger venues. He certainly has a physical ceiling. Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, it’s not. But Purdy has already passed some very important preliminary tests that one game wonders about Nick Mullins (In 2018) He never did. As Shanahan said on Sunday, Purdy made plays that were there, made some plays that weren’t and committed only one flagrant error, an interception that was called back due to a defensive penalty. Shanahan then called another pass immediately after the deleted play, which Purdy fired at Brandon Ayuk for landing. If you want to impress Shanahan, this is how you do it.

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If you had to sum up what it takes for a QB to fit in with Shanahan in one sentence, here it is: Be decisive about the open throws that Shanahan’s schemes have prepared for you, set up your stars, be focused enough when you go off-the-scheme isn’t out of control, and don’t fail. trying to do a lot. (Wait, am I writing about Purdy with Shanahan or Jonathan Kuminga with Steve Kerr? Sometimes it’s all blurry. I don’t think Shanahan and Kerr He’ll disagree with me a lot about dimming, too).

Since Purdy entered the Miami game after Garoppolo was injured on Dec. 4 (late 7-3), the 49ers have outperformed two current playoff teams, Miami And the Tampa Bay, 65-17. Purdy beat the Blitz with perfect reads and accurate throws. He struggled for a TD. He made the easy throws. He was in complete control. Shanahan-style control.

And yes, if Purdy continues to play this way, he could potentially go into the offseason with a real chance of winning a full-time job in 2023. Obviously, Lance is in that discussion, too. Lance is very talented and it costs a ton to buy. He’s the man Shanahan chose over Jones. But if Purdy is the best QB for the job, he’ll get the job.

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Brock Purdy plays like a veteran, and now the 49ers have a division title on the horizon

(Photo: Kyle Terada/USA Today)

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