Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed to reporters that Garoppolo suffered a broken foot during the 33-17 home win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 4. Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk shared on Football Night in America that the 49ers will roll with 2022 seventh-rounder Brock Purdy and have Jacob Eason as backup, but Florio added the 49ers are likely to look elsewhere for QB help.
And per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the 49ers moved swiftly by claiming a familiar face in Josh Johnson from the Denver Broncos’ practice squad.
While Johnson is soon to make his 49ers return, other past 49ers quarterback crossed his own fingers on a possible return, literally.
Kurt Benkert Was With 49ers Recently
News of Garoppolo’s injury prompted a tweet from former NFL quarterback turned broadcaster Robert Griffin III — who tagged another quarterback’s name in his post reaction to Adam Schefter announcing Purdy becoming the starter.
“Well @KurtBenkert they need you!” Griffin posted.
And that’s when Benkert posted this response:
Benkert, as 49er fans recall, was first released on October 12 by the 49ers. He got released as the 49ers made room to promote running back Tevin Coleman to the active roster that week and signed Marlon Mack at RB to the practice squad. Then, after a stint on the practice squad, Benkert was released again on November 15. He posted this response on his Twitter:
Now, the journey may lead him back to S.F. given the severity of Garoppolo’s injury if the Niners decide they need one more QB in a room with Purdy, Eason and Johnson.
Fans Respond to Benkert Reaction & Possibility of Return
There are members of the 49ers Faithful who hoped to see Benkert make his return.
“Streaming on twitch one day, returning to play for the Niners the next. We hope to see it. Hoping they call you back my man,” one fan named “Jimbles” on Twitter posted to Benkert.
“Come back Kurt!” another fan named Josh Iverson said to the former 49ers backup.
Another fan named Jay Scruff shared a Gif indicating that Benkert was the right guy for this critical moment for the 49ers.
Who Else 49ers Must Turn to
The season doesn’t just rest on the shoulders of “Mr. Irrelevant.”
Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 draft (hence the aforementioned title), is stepping into a situation with plenty of help at his disposal. But the main driver according to 49ers insider for The Athletic David Lombardi? The guys Purdy won’t line up with.
“Main driver, though, is going to have to be the 49ers’ defense,” Lombardi tweeted. “That will have to be locomotive that pulls the train.”
Lombardi continued with: “The setup is now what it was in Week 1 with Trey Lance under center — D must create runway — expect now it’s Week 13 and Purdy is the youngster instead of Lance.”
That 49ers defense did surrender an early touchdown to Trent Sherfield on a 75-yard connection. But the Miami offense struggled from there.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lost the football three times including two on interceptions — with Deommodore Lenoir and Jimmie Ward (on this diving attempt) picking him off and Dre Greenlaw pouncing on his loose fumble. Skylar Thompson even came in to throw a pass with under two minutes left but was picked off by Fred Warner on the clinching play.
Meanwhile, Purdy ended his day throwing 25-of-37 for 210 yards and tossed touchdown passes to Christian McCaffrey and Kyle Juszczyk.