SANTA CLARA — If it looked as if running back Christian McCaffrey’s transition to the 49ers was quick and smooth, there’s one teammate in particular who deserves credit.
Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy spent extra time with McCaffrey during those early weeks after he arrived at 49ers headquarters on Oct. 21 after a trade with the Carolina Panthers.
McCaffrey played 23 snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs just two days later. In the 49ers’ next game, McCaffrey had a touchdown passing, receiving and rushing in a 31-14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
“Brock was unbelievably helpful to me when I first got here,” McCaffrey said on Thursday. “On Saturday nights before the games, I would get Brock and we’d go through the whole play sheet, and he would recite the plays to me.
“I was doing it for me, but it helped him a little bit just being about to verbalize it out loud. I think that’s a big thing. He jumped right to it any time I needed him.”
Now, the 49ers need Purdy more than ever.
Purdy will make his first professional start on Sunday with Jimmy Garoppolo out for at least the remainder of the regular season with a fractured left foot.
He entered the 49ers' Week 13 game against the Miami Dolphins after Garoppolo's injury and threw two touchdown passes in a 33-17 victory. One of his touchdowns was a 3-yard toss to McCaffrey just before halftime.
It's no wonder. After all, Purdy and McCaffrey have been developing chemistry from the day they became teammates.
McCaffrey said Purdy would even meet him at the 49ers’ practice complex on his days off to assist him.
“He’d come in and walk through with me on the field, which is a testament to who he is and obviously extremely it was helpful for me,” McCaffrey said. “It was cool to see. Now he’s calling it for real.”
Purdy, the last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State, began the season as the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback behind Trey Lance and Garoppolo.
McCaffrey seems to believe Purdy’s attention to detail will enable him to accomplish some good things as long as he lines up as the 49ers’ starter.
“I didn’t know much about him coming here, but the first couple of days, I figured out a lot about him and his mentality and his work ethic and wanting to be great and wanting to help out,” McCaffrey said,.
“Not a lot of people would do that, and he did it. He jumped at the opportunity, and I was really appreciative for it.”