Trent Williams: Brock Purdy’s success ‘damn sure’ isn’t about the system
Dec 11, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 2:56 pm
Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers have been rolling since their Bye Week, winning the last five games to take the NFC standings by the horns. And yet, people still don’t want to give him his flowers, much to the disdain of Trent Williams.
The 49ers All-Pro left tackle was very complimentary of his young quarterback after Week 14’s win over the Seattle Seahawks. Williams was asked a variety of questions about the contest, but when told Purdy’s explosive throw rate rivals that of the 2000 Rams, the veteran tackle delivered a dissertation for the ages about his budding gunslinger.
“I don’t get why people say he’s a system quarterback,” Williams said Sunday. “No system quarterback makes tight-window throws before they’re there, throwing people open, putting the ball into a window and trusting his receiver to get there, layering balls over linebackers who are in good position, and still getting the ball over their head, getting it to the playmaker.”
I told Trent Williams that the 49ers’ explosive pass rate is rivaling the Greatest Show on Turf Rams.
Williams responded with a long explanation of how Brock Purdy is the opposite of a “system QB” and his theory as to why many observers continue to misevaluate Purdy pic.twitter.com/2uWNgyhXxQ
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) December 11, 2023
Brock Purdy went for 368 passing yards (career high), two touchdowns, and one interception with a 122 passer rating in Week 14. The Arizona native has cemented his place in MVP conversations the last five weeks, now second in passing yards on the year (3,553).
What’s more impressive is his completion percentage, currently leading the NFL at 70.2%. Purdy has finished the last seven games with that number or higher, a historical feat that only Joe Montana has accomplished on the 49ers (eight games).
“[He’s] just so accurate,” Trent Williams continued. “You watch a lot of his throws, the accuracy gives them guys a chance to run after the catch, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for that.”
Brock Purdy on throws of 20+ air yards in 2023, via PFF:
27-of-41, 860 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT, 138.5 Rtg
Purdy leads the NFL in deep passing completion rate and 9 deep passing touchdowns.
— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) December 11, 2023
Despite what he’s putting on tape, NFL fans and pundits alike discredit his body of work because of his surroundings.
The 49ers have a star-studded offense filled with playmakers across the board. Running back Christian McCaffrey is on pace for a historic season, rivaling his All-Pro play from 2019. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk just surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the second consecutive season. Meanwhile, WR Deebo Samuel has led the NFL in receiving yards since Week 11 (407).
Point being: Everything is clicking for the 49ers, helping Purdy thrive under coach Kyle Shanahan. But don’t get it twisted, the former Mr. Irrelevant is making plays happen before our very eyes, with only true football experts hitting back at the “system QB” talk.
“In locker rooms, guys who know football, guys who study us before they play us, there’s no way you can look at him and say, ‘That’s a system quarterback,’ when you watch the throws he makes, you watch him making them under pressure,” Trent Williams explained. “I mean, he rarely checks the ball down. Everything is going upfield, getting the ball upfield, even has the ability to buy extra time with his feet. And even when he does, his eyes stay down the field. Very seldom is he looking to run the ball past the line of scrimmage. He really wants to get it into his playmakers’ hands.
Brock Purdy changed everything. Unreal. pic.twitter.com/iwvzSP2RQV
— East Bay Chris (@EastBayChris) December 10, 2023
“I think he does the best job right now in the NFL at getting that ball into his playmaking hands, whether it’s five yards down the field or 55 yards down the field. He can make every throw. He literally can make every throw, and you can’t show a throw that he can’t make.”
That was apparent in Week 14 against the Seahawks, beating Seattle’s defense in a plethora of ways.
Along with Purdy’s single-game high in passing yards, he also finished with a career-high 10.5 yards per attempt Sunday. The Seahawks made it apparent that they wanted to limit Purdy’s ability to throw over the middle, forcing the gunslinger to take what was given.
And that he did, throwing a 54-yard bomb to Samuel that had everybody talking.
San Francisco 49ers’ defensive end Nick Bosa has previously stated that he feels more confident in this offense than he has in previous seasons. Purdy and the offense feel the same way, as any play call has the chance to go the distance.
“I’m a part of a special group,” Brock Purdy said postgame. “Any one of our eligibles can get the ball in their hands and go do the rest, break tackles, breakaway speed. And you see it every game. So, to throw a 5-yard pass or a deep ball, it doesn’t matter. We got playmakers.”
Brock Purdy's throwing chart from NFL Next Gen. You can see Seattle's focus on taking away the intermediate middle throws. Purdy responded by beating the Seahawks underneath and over the top pic.twitter.com/FxaBj0w1T4
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) December 11, 2023
But while the 49ers have always had weapons, no one can deny that Purdy executes Shanahan’s offense at an absurd rate. And that’s what makes the QB so special, able to have the maturity and poise to not look for the home-run ball every snap.
Sure, the Arizona native has flourished because of his surroundings. But it’s foolish to think he’s a byproduct of the system in Santa Clara, especially after inconsistent QB play since Shanahan arrived in 2017.
Purdy needed the 49ers and Shanahan, and vice versa. It’s a match made in heaven for all parties involved, with the entire locker room bought in on his success being the real deal.
“Every time he approaches Sunday, you can tell this is the most important game in his life and he treats every week like that. His success is not a secret, and it damn sure ain’t got nothing to do with the system,” Trent Williams stated.
Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule:
- Sunday, Dec. 17th @ Arizona Cardinals – 1:05 p.m. PST
- Monday, Dec. 25th vs. Baltimore Ravens – 5:15 p.m. PST
- Sunday, Dec. 31st @ Washington Commanders – 10:00 a.m. PST
- Sunday, Jan. 7th vs. Los Angeles Rams – TBD