AFC coach calls 49ers a 'contender,' says Brock Purdy 'doesn't have to carry them'

On a list of 2-0 teams, the 49ers emerged as a contender and not a pretender. It's not hard to understand why.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

One of the dangerous things about the 49ers is that Brock Purdy doesn't have to be a superstar for them to win a Super Bowl, which is what one AFC coach pointed out.

On the eve of Week 3, nine teams remain undefeated with perfect 2-0 records.

The San Francisco 49ers are one of those teams, having dispatched both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams in back-to-back road games to open up the season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad scored 30 points in each of those games, too, suggesting quarterback Brock Purdy and the offense aren't undergoing what had previously been a trend of Shanahan's offenses starting off slow.

It's still early, though, and one could make the argument that there are plenty of undefeated teams that have no business being serious Super Bowl (or even playoff) contenders.

Recently, our former colleague Matt Lombardo, now working with, spoke with coaches, executives and scouts from around the league to see which undefeated teams were contenders or pretenders.

Not much of a surprise, but the Niners were listed as contenders. But it's part of what one AFC coach had to say that actually makes San Francisco scary.

AFC coach points out how Brock Purdy 'doesn't have to carry' 49ers

The 49ers have plenty of star power. For anyone questioning that, they had eight players within the NFL's Top 100 list entering 2023, and those stars are spread out on both sides of the ball.

From a still-intact defense that ranked No. 1 in the league last year to an offense that has All-Pros in running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, left tackle Trent Williams and tight end George Kittle, it's not hard to see why Purdy doesn't have to proverbially put the team on his shoulders.

That element is what convinced one AFC coach, telling Lombardo, why the Niners are a legit contender:

"San Fran's a contender. They're balanced, they're well coached, they will make aggressive moves all season to acquire players to fill whatever voids pop up. I like Brock Purdy, but he still doesn't have to carry them."

Related story: 49ers' Super Bowl odds have skyrocketed over first 2 weeks of 2023

Most contenders have to have an elite quarterback to carry them into Super Bowl contention. But what makes San Francisco so dangerous is the fact that Purdy doesn't have to play at an elite level for his team to find that kind of success.

He merely has to be good enough.

It's not too far an argument off what the 49ers got from now-Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, someone who couldn't necessary carry a team. But, if he didn't make mistakes, the Niners would overwhelmingly win games.

Yet Purdy might be even more dynamic and capable as Garoppolo, provided his hot start to his NFL career continues.

Surrounded by that additional weaponry on both sides of the ball, it's not hard to see why this coach feels San Francisco is a top contender.

And a dangerous one at that.

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