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Analyst Comments On Sam Darnold Potentially Starting Sunday

Analyst Comments On Sam Darnold Potentially Starting Sunday


Sam Darnold #14 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up before playing the Denver Broncos in a preseason game at Levi's Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.
(Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)


After they got off to a 5-0 start this season, the San Francisco 49ers have stumbled by losing their last two games, and things have gone from bad to worse for them.

After losing by two points to the Cleveland Browns in Week 6, they fell to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday, 22-17, and they’re being forced to confront the reality that they have some things to clean up and improve on.

Even worse, starting quarterback Brock Purdy has been unexpectedly placed in concussion protocol, which means his status for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals is in question.

If Purdy is unable to play, Dan Orlovsky wouldn’t be concerned — in fact, he said backup Sam Darnold would do just fine, even calling him “the most talented quarterback physically that Kyle Shanahan has had in that offense at least since Matt Ryan,” per the NFL on ESPN.

Darnold was the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern California, but he has amounted to very little, if anything, so far in the pros.

He has a career completion rate of just 59.7 percent, and he has almost as many interceptions (55) as touchdown passes (61) since coming into the league.

Shanahan, the Niners’ head coach, employs a run-heavy offense that utilizes plenty of short passes and expects its receivers to add yards after the catch, and the hope is that such an offense will minimize Darnold’s shortcomings and allow him to at least look adequate.

Purdy had two interceptions on Monday, including one in the final seconds, and while it is too early to say his prior success was a fluke, the onus is now on him to bounce back from two subpar performances in a row once he’s cleared to play.

Video Shows The Moment Brock Purdy Suffered His Injury


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