Kyle Shanahan shouldn’t play Brock Purdy when 49ers face Raiders

The preseason is a chance to evaluate the depth on your roster. The 49ers know who they have with quarterback Brock Purdy, which is a great reason to have him watch on the sidelines this Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) tries to avoid Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Harvey Langi (56)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) tries to avoid Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Harvey Langi (56) / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

0-0. 28. . 4 p.m. ET. 0-0. 42. CBS. Sunday, Aug. 13. 49ers Raiders

With the preseason set to begin, the 49ers need to be smart with who’s playing, and Brock Purdy should definitely sit this one out.

After months of hearing updates on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, he is cleared to play. It’s great news for a fanbase who’s been waiting for another Joe Montana or Steve Young to take over.

Is Purdy going to be in that group? Probably not. But after showing a lot of promise last year, the expectations are sky-high.

The first preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders would be a prime opportunity for Purdy to get back into the swing of things. But it’s also more of a chance for guys like Sam Darnold and Trey Lance to showcase their abilities again.

You’d have to think head coach Kyle Shanahan has already seen enough of Purdy during training camp to know if he can hold him out until one of the last preseason games. It’s not worth another injury or aggravation to his surgically repaired throwing arm, to play him on Sunday when the Niners and Raiders square off for Week 1 of the preseason.

By the looks of it, Shanahan isn't planning on playing most of his starters this Sunday anyway. That said, let's delve into the rationale and why the head coach must stick with it.

Shanahan knows Purdy will be the starting quarterback come Week 1. However, who’s going to back him up is the vital question. Lance and Darnold both have been starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Both have proven to a degree, they can make smart decisions.

Now they recognize they’re just playing to be the second string, which on this 49ers team, can quickly turn into a starter.

Can 49ers QB Trey Lance prove doubters wrong?

All eyes will be on Lance throughout the preseason game and into the season. The 49ers did give up a lot of draft capital for him back in 2021, and he’s yet to fully hit his potential. At some point, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will need to make a decision if Lance should be in the long-term plans.

Obviously, it’s too early to decide right now. However in a “win-now” league with a Super Bowl roster, something has to give.

Read more: 5 Niners who must start off hot this preseason vs. Raiders

Lance does bring some mobility to the roster where Purdy lacks. The former first-round selection also worked on his throwing mechanics during the offseason, so we could be seeing a brand-new quarterback against Las Vegas.

How will 49ers' newest QB, Sam Darnold, mesh?

Both Purdy and Lance will have the opportunity to learn from a veteran in Darnold. He hasn’t had the most dynamic storyline so far, but he does provide some stability for the two youngsters ahead of him.

Sunday will be a great opportunity to see what he can bring to the table under a Shanahan playbook. By far, this 49ers offense will be the best unit he’s worked for. The offensive line is captained by future Hall of Famer Trent Williams. The receiving corps has the most dynamic wide receiver in football with Deebo Samuel. And the running back room boasts Christian McCaffery.

You can’t get better than those guys.

At the end of the day, 49ers fans should wait at least one more week before seeing Purdy lead the offense on the field.

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