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Joe Staley details why 49ers are still set up for Super Bowl run after Jimmy Garoppolo injury

© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers lost their starting quarterback on Sunday. Again.

It’s a devastating situation that would certainly seem to threaten San Francisco’s season. With Trey Lance, and now Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season, how do they recover?

Does Brock Purdy offer enough to keep the 49ers competitive and make a playoff run?

Joe Staley thinks so, and pretty confidently.

He joined Papa & Lund on Monday to break down the where the 49ers, at 8-4 and with Purdy at the helm, stand going forward.

Given the team’s defense, and way Kyle Shanahan runs his offense, Staley thinks they can weather the loss. He explained why Garoppolo’s injury is “not going to change much.”


I think the Niners have been set up since the day that Kyle has gotten here and also with John [Lynch] and from my time to currently, I think they have been set up to not be controlled by the quarterback. They’re not a quarterback-driven team. And so, if any team is able to kind of ride an injury to the starting quarterback — we’ve seen it with Trey and now we see it with Jimmy — it’s this squad right here.

They’re a defensive-oriented team. They win through their defense, they win through the running game, they win through the play-calling.

The quarterback’s role is basically just make smart decisions with the ball, get the ball to the playmakers and that’s one of the reasons why people on radio and throughout ESPN, they always talk about, ‘Well what’s Jimmy doing? What’s Jimmy doing? Or what’s he not doing? Or what’s the quarterback doing?’

And it’s not what we see with the Chiefs or what we see with the Bills. They’re quarterback-centric offenses. This team is not. So I think Jimmy’s injury is not going to change much.”

It’s a pretty strong statement from Staley in what was arguably Garoppolo’s best season. He hadn’t thrown an interception in five games and had thrown 16 touchdowns to 4 interceptions on the year.

That seems to be more of a reflection of how he highly he regards Kyle Shanahan and what he thinks of Purdy.

The former longtime tackle recalled that former 49ers guard Adam Snyder, a close friend, coached Purdy at Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona. He said Snyder was confident San Francisco stole Purdy with the final pick in the draft:

When the Niners drafted Brock as Mr. Irrelevant, he texted me and then he called me and he was so fired up that a guy that he knows is with Niners, but he was like, ‘This kid is a winner. The Niners got a steal with this kid.’

He’s like, ‘He might not have the arm strength. He might not have the measurables. He might not have all this stuff that people get drafted off nowadays, but what he does have is he has the mentality. He is a grinder, and he’s a winner.'”

Purdy clearly outplayed Tua Tagavailoa on Sunday, the latter of whom was “shook” — as Deebo Samuel described it postgame — by the 49ers defense.

He was 25-of-37 with 210 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. His interception was actually a net positive, effectively an “arm punt” on a 50-50 ball under pressure on fourth down that put the Dolphins in worse field position than if the ball hadn’t been caught.

Beyond that performance, Staley thinks the 49ers can still compete for a Super Bowl:

I think he’s gonna be a really good fit. So I don’t think — to answer your actual question — I don’t think much is going to change offensively. It’s still going to be driven through the run game.

To win games, it’s going to be driven through the defense, and I think Kyle also has a quarterback that understands the offense and that’s a grinder and that’s gonna understand where to go with the ball and where to place it and just don’t make mistakes. And I think this season, the way the team is still built, it’s not going to be, ‘Ohh, well now the season’s over.’

I think, still, even with Brock Purdy, we still have a chance. We still have the capabilities in the team to go deep in the playoffs and make a Super Bowl run.

Purdy will get his first full chance at the helm next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play on Monday night. That means a short week and a cross-country flight for a 5-6 team playing a grueling New Orleans Saints defense.

It’s a prime opportunity for a young quarterback Staley believes can keep the 49ers competitive.

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Papa & Lund weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on


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