The San Francisco 49ers had one of the best rosters in the entire NFL a year ago.
They’ll once again have one of the league’s best rosters in 2023.
But one thing appears to keep the Niners from truly being a Super Bowl threat: the lack of a star quarterback.
San Fran entered the 2022 season with second-year QB Trey Lance atop the depth chart. But Lance struggled in two games before a season-ending ankle injury. The Niners then turned to former starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who was solid if unspectacular before an injury ended his year as well.
That left the fate of the season in the hands of rookie Brock Purdy, who was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft. Purdy exceeded all expectations, going 5-0 with 274.8 yards per game to go along with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions.
He then knocked the Dallas Cowboys out of the playoffs before tearing his UCL against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.
Since then, Garoppolo has left in free agency and Lance has been the subject of trade talks. The 49ers also brought in former top pick Sam Darnold, who struggled in both New York and Carolina.
Purdy, despite his lack of experience, looks to be the presumed starter. But none of the three quarterbacks instill much confidence.
That is, unless you’re San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan.
“I do believe we have three quarterbacks talent-wise who are all capable of being franchise-like quarterbacks,” Shanahan said at the annual Dwight Clark Legacy Series event, per The Athletic’s David Lombardi. “Brock’s done that in his eight [games]. And we have two other guys on our roster who we strongly believe can do that also.”
Surely those “two other guys” will appreciate not getting individual shout outs. Regardless, it appears Shanhan has much more belief in his guys than anyone else around the league.