Short answer: yeah. Honestly I don’t think that’s much in doubt, but it made a snappier comic. The debate around Purdy isn’t so much “Is he good” but “How good exactly”. Is he a mid-level system QB being severely propped up by his surroundings or is he genuinely the driving force behind the 49ers success as of late? In a class case of centrist cop-out, I think the answer lies in the middle. He’s better than his detractors claim, but he is not as good as the Purdy Posse wants to believe he is. Yes I’m gonna keep calling them the Purdy Posse, fuck you.

So let’s immediately write off the fringes of the bell curve in these arguments. Anyone who says Purdy is trash is just a hater. Anyone who was genuinely saying he belongs in the MVP conversation can join the hater in the dumpster and while they fight each other like rabid raccoons over the remains of someone’s Burger King the rest of us civilized people can have an adult conversation.

The system QB argument has always been kind of a chicken-and-egg question. Every QB is, to some level, affected by the system around him. Stick Mahomes on the Panthers and yeah, even he gets worse. Of course Purdy is going to play worse when Deebo, CMC, or Kittle is out. That’s not really proof of anything. He’s probably going to play worse if Brian Schottenheimer was his offensive coordinator instead of one of the best offensive minds in the game. The debate is really around whether Purdy is a bottom-top 10 guy or a mid-teens guy. If you subscribe to the tiers method of ranking dudes, whether or not he’s Tier C or Tier B (Tier S is just Mahomes, for reference).

The case FOR Purdy
This might sound wild to some of ya’ll, especially since I largely come down on the opposite side of the argument, but Purdy right now reminds me of early Brady. EARLY Brady, 2001-2002 Brady. Game manager Brady. The Brady who was not an elite QB but a guy who’s main job was not fucking up so that the defense and run game could win. A job early Brady was an expert in. That’s what stands out to me about Purdy. He’s smart, and he executes the offense exactly as he needs to. Purdy makes generally good decisions and is safe with the ball. He’s not a gunslinger, he’s not trying to win games with his arm, he’s just there to steer the ship through the obstacle course. He’s not going to go for the shortcut to win, he’s not going to drift around corners, he’s going to drive straight and true and be boring as fuck – yet effective. Brady didn’t become the GOAT for a couple more years, at least not till 2004, probably even later, in like 2006-7. Purdy is in a great spot to learn the game and play effectively and he may just evolve into a great player without us really noticing. He’s putting up decent stats this year and until the previous two games was taking good care of the ball. It should also be noted that while his performance against the Vikings was ugly, he was also apparently concussed. So that probably had something to do with it.

I think this is his strength over Garoppolo. Jimmy probably had more arm talent but he was also more mistake prone.

The Case AGAINST Purdy
He really hasn’t been tasked with winning a game until the past two weeks. Making the comeback, putting the team on his back against adversity. He hasn’t actually faced much adversity. Last year’s schedule during the Purdy games was pathetic competition until the Dallas playoff game, where he was…okay. The Philly game doesn’t count at all. This year he’s faced some slightly better competition and he’s been mixed. He did well against both the Steelers and Cowboys defenses, but he struggled against the Browns defense and the Vikings (Again, concussed, so hard to judge). He also struggled for at least the first half against the Giants defense. Watching Purdy in the Giants game, it was startling to see how much felt like Kittle and Deebo and CMC just breaking tackles constantly. Purdy has an extremely easy job when those guys are around you. He’s not making dangerous throws, he’s not wowing anyone with his arm, he’s just putting the ball where it needs to be: in the hands of the star skill players.

The real question sort of comes in with well, how many QBs could you stick on this 49ers team and get the same level of production if not better? How many QBs would you rank over Purdy in a vacuum? The answer is a fair amount, at least from my POV. Let’s do that, for funsies.

QBs I would take over Purdy right now (not in any specific order)

There’s also Rodgers, who is better than Purdy for sure but is also out for probably the year.

This puts him around #13, which I think is entirely fair. Good, not great. Solid, not spectacular. Not every QB here is perfect, like Geno or Dak, but both have shown more ability to win a game on their arm than Purdy ever has. Part of the problem with evaluating Purdy is simply low sample size. He hasn’t played a full season of games yet.

I think Purdy is in about as good a situation as a QB can be in. If he misses the game this Sunday and Sam Darnold starts and looks just as good, that’s probably a knock against Purdy, because Sam Darnold sucks. But this is a great place to be, because he can just keep learning and improving and honing his craft while in a position to make mistakes because his surrounding team is so ace. I think the 49ers can absolutely win a SB with Purdy as he is right now. I don’t think Hurts is anything special when throwing the ball either, he’s also benefitting from the players and system around him.

But it’s so weird seeing a guy who wins a lot of games and still not be able to tell what sort of player he is. Purdy remains a mystery in many ways. I guess all of this was just to say

He’s Purdy Good I guess.