49ers Make Final Call on Brock Purdy Status for Week 18

Brock Purdy of the 49ers will get Week 18 off.

Getty Brock Purdy of the 49ers will get Week 18 off.

For San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, the question of what to do with quarterback Brock Purdy in a Week 18 game against the Rams that means virtually nothing to the 49ers’ playoff prospects was a tricky one. On one hand, he wants Purdy to maintain the rhythm that led him to be one of the favorites for the NFL MVP price. On the other, he wants Purdy to stay healthy and rested ahead of the 49ers’ divisional round playoff matchup in two-and-a-half weeks.

Ultimately, Shanahan made a final call that he announced on Wednesday.

“Brock Purdy’s the only guy for sure I know I don’t plan on playing,” Shanahan said in his press conference on Wednesday. With that, Brock Purdy was granted Week 18 off and his 2023 regular season was ended. 

Sam Darnold to Get All Week 18 Snaps

The decision does figure to hurt Purdy’s individual standings in several stats categories, including yards passing. He had amassed 4,280 yards passing, second in the NFL, but with a week off he figures to slip down to fifth, with Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott and Jared Goff all poised to pass him.

He is also second in the NFL with 31 touchdowns, and probably will slip downward on that list, too. Jordan Love of the Packers has 30 touchdown passes, and three QBs would need three touchdowns to tie up Purdy.

That was, obviously, not of much concern to Shanahan, who said he did not have many options because under NFL rules, he was limited in the number of players he could rest — a team is required to dress 48 players plus two practice-quad players.

On a 53-man roster, that means five players can be rested, plus two who can be flexed out by practice-squadders. The 49ers have six players who are likely out with injuries, which left Shanahan with one free rest spot.

“One, you only can rest seven guys if nobody’s hurt if you get two practice squad guys up. We have at least six guys injured right now. I only know for sure we can rest one and so I went with our starting quarterback,” Shanahan said. Brock Purdy, of course, is that starting quarterback.

He added that the plan was to play backup Sam Darnold for the entirety of Week 18. He was not intending on third-stringer Brandon Allen getting reps.

Steady 49ers Practice Plan for Brock Purdy

The trick for Shanahan and the 49ers is to be as sure as possible that Purdy is ready for the playoff opener. That is no easy task with the amount of time off he is getting, first in Week 18 then in the wild-card playoff bye.

One way to do that is to keep the practice schedule as normal as possible. That’s part of the Purdy plan.

“Brock Purdy, we’re treating this as a normal week,” Shanahan said. “So this is a normal Wednesday at this time of year, which means we go half-speed on everything. We don’t do anything full-speed this time of year on a Wednesday. Brock will get half of the reps with the ones. Sam will get the other. I want our team to treat this week as Brock going down on like the first play of the game. Now, that’s why I want them both repping it.

“I want Brock to get some work this week. That’s something I’d like us to be ready for if that unfortunately did happen. Thursday when it’s all full-speed, probably give Sam majority of them. We’ll talk about that after today. Friday, we’re back to walk-through.”


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