Brock Purdy calm & collected ahead of first career NFL start: ‘I just want to go out and prove to myself’
It was only a short while ago that 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy heard his name called at the 2022 NFL draft in Las Vegas with the last pick, and yet here we are almost eight months later.
After injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance left San Francisco in disarray, Purdy is set to bridge the way for the Red & Gold’s next postseason run. But to do that he’ll need to pass his first career NFL start, going up against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon.
Previously joking about the elder QB playing football longer than he’s been alive, Purdy is excited to play against one of the greats, but admits his mind is fixated on the defense of Tampa Bay.
“Definitely awesome, to have Tom Brady come and play on the same field,” Brock Purdy stated Thursday after practice.
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The Iowa State standout will look to continue his good form Sunday after filling in nicely for Jimmy Garoppolo against the Miami Dolphins. Purdy finished with 210 passing yards, two first half touchdowns and one interception.
After his first real-game action this season (Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs was garbage time), his phone was blowing up, with almost everyone in his life congratulating him on his performance. But while there’s a time for chatting, not this week. Purdy is as locked in as ever, fully focused on leading the 49ers to 9-4.
“After the game and day after, I took time to reflect and appreciate everyone in my life who’ve played a part and given their time and support and love towards me and my family. I’m very appreciative of that, the QB said. “From [Tuesday] on, I’ve had to shift my thoughts and time and effort to get ready for this game. If I haven’t responded to you, just know I’m busy but I appreciate everyone’s love and support.”
Before becoming the 49ers' starting QB, Brock Purdy would stay after practices with assistant 49ers QB coach Klay Kubiak and run all the plays that Jimmy Garoppolo had just run at practice — but on air (without a ball). Purdy has been refining his mental game all season long
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That’s not to say Brock hasn’t been waiting for this moment all season, taking mental reps after practice each week with assistant QB coach Klay Kubiak and ball boy to understand the offense better. He knew this day could come, just not so soon. To help him prepare for the “big day”, he’s spoken with Garoppolo in passing moments around the 49ers’ facility, working like a sponge to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
“Just picked his [Garoppolo’s] brain on what it’s going to take [to win]…I told him I love him and am appreciative of everything he’s done for me. He’s around and every time you see he smiles. The energy he brings is awesome,” the rookie said.
Purdy will need more than Jimmy G’s energy if he wants to show out against Brady, especially with his previous role as backup not allowing for many snaps with the first team.
“About four reps,” tight end George Kittle shared, regarding the amount of time he’s worked with Purdy before Week 13. “Yeah, maybe four reps.”
A comical number, but the reality of the situation at hand: These guys don’t have a lot of reps with one another.
Despite this glaring issue, Kittle and the rest of the team are confident that Brock Purdy can lead the 49ers to great things down the stretch run this season.
“He’s slinging it,” Kittle added. “Gets us to the right calls, not really any mistakes, I think he’s feeling really good and gives us all the confidence in him.”
This game means more to Purdy than anyone else in the San Francisco locker room though. The Mr. Irrelevant talk has been a nice story but no one really believes this almost undrafted kid can lead the Red & Gold to a win against Brady right? In fact, Tom has never lost to a rookie QB in his entire 23-year NFL career.
But that’s where Purdy wants the conversation to be.
An underdog who barely got a collegiate offer until his senior year of high school in Gilbert, Arizona, Purdy thrives on doubts, looking to prove that he belongs in this league Sunday.
“I think there’s always been an edge as myself,” Purdy explained. They make a joke out of it and whatnot. And it’s all fun and games, you know, in terms of taking the [Mr. Irrelevant] trip and meeting great people, that kind of thing. But for myself, like yeah, I’ve always believed that, I don’t care about what slot, what round, what pick. My whole thing was ‘man, I just want to go out and prove to myself that I can play at this level’. And so that’s always been my mentality.”
Click here to watch Brock Purdy’s full Thursday presser