SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
QB Sam Darnold raved about the 49ers’ organization in his first press conference
The San Francisco 49ers have had a problem with keeping quarterbacks healthy the last few seasons, especially in 2022. Losing three QBs by the end of the season, the Red & Gold needed a little more insurance behind Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. Enter former third-overall pick, Sam Darnold.
Darnold inked a one-year deal with the 49ers this week, lining him up to be the No. 2 QB heading into the 2023 training camp. When speaking to the media for the first time as a 49er, Darnold expressed a ton of excitement, explaining how it was an easy decision to come to in the end.
“I think at the end of the day, it was a fairly easy decision for me to be able to come here and just be able to go to work,” Sam Darnold said Thursday. “That’s what I’m most excited for. To work with Kyle [Shanahan], with Brian Griese and the great personnel that’s on this roster from top to bottom. Just excited to get started in this organization and get to work.”
The USC alum also has some familiarity in the Bay, working with running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks on the Carolina Panthers last season. Darnold raved about Wilks at length, thrilled to be on the same team as one of the smartest minds in football.
“The way that he coaches, the way that he gets the back end right and ties everything together. I think that’s rare to find in a defensive coordinator, and Coach Wilks has that…He’s one of the smartest defensive coaches I’ve been around since I’ve been in the NFL,” Darnold stated.
Sam Darnold is excited for the opportunity to play in Shanahan's offense pic.twitter.com/vuJ0zxiV92
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) March 16, 2023
While Darnold’s deal is initially set at $4.5 million for the year, play-time incentives could push that number to $11 million. It’s unlikely that he reaches those figures, but for a QB who helped keep Carolina in postseason contention in 2022, he hopes to build off his most efficient NFL season.
“Not forcing things that weren’t there…That was the biggest thing for me: Staying within myself, staying patient,” he explained.
The former highly-touted prospect is also ecstatic to work with Purdy & Lance, two players that have shown flashes of huge upside. Seeing similarities with each QB, Darnold hopes to have a collaborative effort in the quarterbacks’ room next season.
“I’m very familiar with their games,” he said. “I feel like all three of us are pretty similar. We have the ability to get out and make plays when we need to and we can also throw from pocket. So I see a lot of similarities in all three of our games. Just excited to work with them and meet them as soon as possible.”
Much of the offseason discussion will be surrounding the QB battle in training camp. Being the only gunslinger not coming off an injury, Darnold knows he could be relied upon in the regular season. But that’s not at the forefront of his mind, as his mentality is similar to the 49ers: Win games by any means necessary.
“There are some unknowns with Brock’s injury and Trey coming back. Those are some things that, with a good quarterback room…everything’s going to work out. At the end of the day, as long as we’re winning games, that’s the only thing that matters to me,” Sam Darnold said.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) March 16, 2023
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