NFL analyst: Brock Purdy has a savage counter to game-manager claims

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has faced a lot of criticism lately. Now we know how he feels about it, Mark Schlereth tells FanSided.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff have all been praised for their play this season. That's what happens when a quarterback leads their team to the conference championship — unless, of course, that quarterback is Brock Purdy.

Unlike Mahomes, Jackson and Goff, Purdy wasn't a first-round draft pick with high expectations. When a quarterback like Purdy seemingly emerges from nowhere, it's easier to dismiss his success rather than figure out why nobody saw it coming.

Despite leading the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game for the second straight year, Purdy has faced doubt and criticism about his ability as a franchise quarterback. Former two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver claimed that Purdy wasn't a "difference maker." Jennings went as far as suggesting that San Francisco should replace him with Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Purdy's response to his critics? Watch the tape.

San Francisco 49ers Brock Purdy says critics are "not watching the film"

Fox Sports analyst and former NFL guard Mark Schlereth spoke with FanSided's Sterling Holmes on the Stacking the Box Podcast, and revealed a conversation he had with Brock Purdy during the 2023 regular season. Schlereth said he asked Purdy how he responds to being called a game manager.

"I asked [Purdy] that, 'Game manager — you hear that, what do you say? How do you respond?'" Schlereth told FanSided. "… And he said, ‘Anybody who calls me a game manager doesn’t actually watch film. I’ve got some gunslinger in me.’ And he’s not braggadocious, he’s just stating facts."

The numbers back up Purdy's claims. While he's not a stereotypical gunslinger, Purdy led the league in passing yards per attempt (9.6), dispelling the notion that he's not willing to throw deep. He also led the league in passer rating (113.0) while recording the third-most passing touchdowns (31) and the second-best completion percentage (69.4).

The criticism of Purdy is an unfair one. A quarterback that doesn't throw it deep because he's not asked to shouldn't be viewed as a quarterback who can't throw it deep. Sometimes a quarterback has a wealth of offensive weaponry. Sometimes a quarterback has a lack of talent surrounding him. Great quarterbacks win in either case, and bad quarterbacks lose in either case. Purdy is surrounded by talent. and he's making the most out of it. Not every 49ers quarterback has been able to do that.

“I think Brock Purdy is a big-time playmaker and a big-time player,” Schlereth said. 

Purdy doesn't need to be a gunslinger or play hero ball. Not because he can't, but because it's not what he's asked to do. The 49ers did not lose a single game this season when Purdy didn't throw an interception.

Purdy's job — like any other quarterback's job — is to operate within the structure of the play design and distribute the ball in rhythm. It's the same job that Mahomes does and the same job that Fields struggles to do consistently.

"In the West Coast offense, they always say you throw the ball with your feet — meaning your feet set you up, your feet hold the rhythm of the offense," Schlereth said. "[Purdy] is on time consistently and on target consistently, and it’s because he is so good in the pocket. Another thing he does a great job of is, pre-snap, deciding what they’re in, post-snap, confirming what they’re in, and he will get off the front-side in a heartbeat. I’ve watched him get through the fourth guy … in his progression in under a second-and-a-half and deliver a touchdown throw to McCaffrey.”

Purdy will have a chance to silence his critics when the San Francisco 49ers face the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Hot take island: Brock Purdy isn't nearly as bad as Greg Jennings thinks. dark. Next. Hot take island: Brock Purdy isn't nearly as bad as Greg Jennings thinks