Shanahan, Lynch refute claim 49ers unable to protect QBs


The 49ers have an extensive history of injuries at the quarterback position that predates the disastrous onslaught that was the 2022 NFL season. 

Before San Francisco lost Brock Purdy (UCL tear) and subsequently Josh Johnson (concussion) in the NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the 49ers had lost second-year quarterback Trey Lance (ankle) in Week 2 and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) in Week 13.

Four different quarterbacks were thrust into action under center for the 49ers this season and if you were to ask coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, that's three too many. 

In the end-of-season press conference at Levi's Stadium on Wednesday, Lynch was asked if the 49ers will look to identify a common denominator in each of their quarterback injuries, or if they believe they were out of their control. 

“Yeah, I really believe that's a tough position to play in this league," Lynch said. "I understand there's some players who've had incredible durability. As Kyle said earlier, I think Brock's been incredibly durable throughout his career. He ran into just an inopportune situation where he's trying to throw the ball downfield, and he’s got an NFL edge rusher pulling at your arm the other direction. It's just not going to hold up, so that stinks.

"Trey had his issues and Trey's had a rough go here the last couple years. He's obviously going to have to prove that he can stay healthy, but I know there were periods of my career early on where I struggled to stay healthy, then I went eight years without missing a snap. So that happens sometimes. And yeah, I'm sure people wonder, Jimmy's had his issues, but believe me, it's nothing with the way we play our quarterbacks or anything. I think it's just coincidence and we look into everything, but I don't think we have any more of an issue than anybody else. I think that's a tough position in this league."


Shanahan, who came under fire for his play-calls immediately after the injuries to Lance and Purdy, specifically, was asked if he now has any hesitation calling plays after a season in which four of his quarterbacks suffered injuries.

The 49ers coach passionately refuted that his play-calling was to blame for any of the injuries. 

“Yeah, I think when you ask that question that way, I understand, but I think if you looked at the injuries, common sense would answer that question," Shanahan said. "How have they gotten hurt? I'm sorry, [QB] Josh [Johnson] got a concussion when he hit the ground, so that's the fourth one you're talking about.

"I'm sorry our quarterback got his elbow bent backwards on a normal dropback pass. I'm sorry, on a drop-back pass someone rolled up on Jimmy’s ankle. And then we have a dual-threat quarterback who got hurt running the ball. To throw all those four in that category -- no quarterbacks got hurt when we had to hand it off the whole second half, so we can look into that.”

The claim that Shanahan's play-calling is to blame for injuries at the position has been widely disputed and pretty quickly put to rest. After Lance suffered a broken ankle in Week 2, some were critical of Shanahan's play-call of a designed quarterback run by Lance up the middle directly into Seattle's defensive line.

Most recently, some were critical of the first-quarter play-call last Sunday against Philadelphia where backup tight end Tyler Kroft was assigned to block Eagles star pass-rusher Haason Reddick, which ultimately resulted in a costly fumble by Purdy and an even costlier game-changing injury

RELATED: 49ers confident with Purdy, Lance topping QB depth chart

Unfortunately for the 49ers, there isn't a clear and obvious solution to these issues; Their luck is just unfathomably bad. 

And nobody is more frustrated by that than Shanahan and Lynch.

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