Robert Griffin III on Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers QBs

The 49ers’ decision to trade Trey Lance was loud confirmation that San Francisco moved on from the No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft and set its sights on future quarterback Brock Purdy — the 262nd pick in the 2022 draft.

There was certainly no louder voice in this decision than coach Kyle Shanahan, who now has what former NFL QB and ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III calls the best of both worlds under center.

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Griffin joined Kevin Clarke on Clarke’s new show This Is Football and talked about why he thinks Shanahan and the 49ers never quite figured things out with Lance.

“My problem with Trey Lance and Kyle is that I thought Trey Lance would allow Kyle and the 49ers to take this next step as a team,” said Griffin. Because Kyle likes predictable guys, right? Look at our team in Washington with me and Kirk Cousins. Kirk was a guy who knew hey, if we did this play he’d boom, boom, boom, boom and get him where we think he should Goes.” Whereas guys like me, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, all those guys — there’s more creativity in the game. Not that you try to draw outside the lines, but you do. And I thought Trey could provide that for Kyle because I think that’s He’s his kryptonite. Kyle is a control freak. Brock Purdy gives him a little bit of both worlds. It gives him the ability to predict, “Hey, he’s going to check his readings and do this, this, this, this,” but he can also create on the back end. They loved that More from Brock than they got from Trey.

Griffin was the #2 overall pick for Washington in the 2012 draft. He had plenty of success as a junior, but injuries and organizational upsets kept his career from taking off.

As strong as the term “control freak” may be, it makes perfect sense to see why Shanahan has been so successful with quarterbacks in Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullins, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy. Not much creativity in that group, whole point, and certainly not enough to think any of them would give up crime and move into freelancing.

Part of the reason the 49ers had such success with Purdy under center last year, Griffin points out, is Purdy’s ability to create outside of the offensive structure. But the important caveat is that he usually only does this when he has to. Sometimes his receivers were covered, and sometimes the pressure got home and forced him to try and make the play.

Purdy has yet to prove entering his second NFL season and first as a full-time starter. He still has to be consistently excellent inside the offensive structure, but the ability to create outside of that could be the difference between a 49ers win and lose a Super Bowl with Purdy under center. If this independent playmaking finally helps San Francisco score points at the 33.5 PPG clip it was in the final six weeks of last season, Shanahan will have to cede some control to the QB in order to bring back the elusive Lombardi Trophy.

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