What 49ers’ not-so-secret weapon is teaching Purdy, Darnold originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA — The 49ers did the unimaginable in 2022, playing their way into a spot in the NFC Championship Game with the third quarterback on their roster at the helm and there’s a good reason why.
Coach Kyle Shanahan is known as an offensive genius but the not-so-secret weapon of the 49ers’ offense might be quarterbacks coach Brian Griese. The long-time quarterback was an ESPN commentator for over a decade before he joined San Francisco’s coaching staff before the 2022 NFL season.
Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold and even former 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have shared how Griese’s experience under center makes him a valuable coach.
“Griese has been awesome so far,” Darnold said during OTAs. “Really throughout the whole process, right when I decided to sign here. Griese has been awesome for me just to be able to talk to about learning the system, about coming to a new team, certain expectations coming in and being the new guy on the block.”
The former Carolina Panthers quarterback explained that it is even more than Griese just knowing the offensive system inside and out. The 49ers’ coach knows that what happens before the ball is snapped is important too.
“It’s also having that mindset of, ‘OK, when I step in that huddle, I am the leader,’ ” Darnold said. “And guys are going to, if they have questions, they should feel confident in me that I know the answer in terms of scheme and what they got, so Griese has been great that way.”
Brock Purdy has yet to throw a football since surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm on March 1. Still the young quarterback shared how Griese is helping make sure they are using their time on the field wisely.
“Oh yeah, it’s been great, really just picking up where we left off last year,” Purdy said. “I always say, his experience, he’s been in our shoes, so he’s able to relate to a lot of things — what we’re seeing, how we’re feeling, situational football.”
Griese spent 11 seasons in the league on four different teams after being drafted in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. The Michigan alum finished with a 45-38 NFL record and a 62.7 percent career completion rate.
After spending his first five seasons with the Broncos, Griese played a year in Miami before heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons and the Chicago Bears for another two. The quarterbacks coach’s final NFL season was a return to Tampa where he started five games.
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Now he’s imparting his years of wisdom on the crowded 49ers’ quarterback room.
“To pick up the momentum that we had from last year, and then him being able to really just break down protections and different concepts, having Griese in our corner has been a blessing,” Purdy said. “He’s the man.”