Forgive Kyle Shanahan if he got triggered at the thought of his 49ers opening the season against the Eagles. Any coach would balk at the memory.
As NFL fans know, the league is revealing the entire 2023 schedule during a special telecast tonight. However, the NFL is dropping some bread crumbs. One of them was the news that the Eagles and 49ers, which is a repeat of the NFC title game, will play in week 13.
Shanahan thought the 49ers could’ve opened with the Eagles. And there was a possibility that San Francisco would be without quarterback Brock Purdy. Again.
“I am glad we’re not playing Philly Week One,” Shanahan said at an event in San Francisco Wednesday night. “I want to play them at a better time. (And) I want to make sure our whole team is right there. . . . We felt we didn’t get to do it last time, and I’m ready to go back again.”
The 49ers lost both Purdy and backup Josh Johnson before halftime. Purdy tore a tendon in his right elbow during the opening series. Meanwhile, Johnson suffered a concussion right before halftime. Shanahan, not knowing the extent of Purdy’s injury, sent him back into the game. But Purdy couldn’t pass. In total, the 49ers suffered through a horror show in 2022, losing four quarterbacks to injuries.
Purdy needed surgery to help the injury heal. Shanahan said this week that his quarterback should be cleared to start throwing next month. And if all goes as expected, he’ll be able to start training camp without limits. But he still can’t project whether Purdy will be healed by the season opener.
“When Brock comes back and is healthy, we’ll see where we’re at,” Shanahan said. “We know we have a quarterback out there who’s won at a high level.”
Jimmy Garoppolo, who was one of those four quarterbacks last season, left the 49ers and signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. However, Trey Lance still is around. He began last season as the starter. San Fran had a ton invested in him, given that the team traded up to get him with the third pick of the 2021 draft. But after earning the starting job in training camp last year, Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week two. Garoppolo carried the team until early November. Then his season ended in week 13 against the Dolphins when he also suffered a foot injury.
That all cleared the way for Purdy, who was one of feel good stories of the year. Purdy was the last pick of the 2022 draft. Yet, he led the 49ers like a savvy vet, winning seven straight games. Then it came to a painful end on a chilly afternoon in Philly.
And speaking of Philadelphia, Shanahan said his wife already told him she’s not going back to Lincoln Financial Field.
“I don’t like going back to Philly again,” he said. “My wife’s bitter about it a little bit. She didn’t like her fan experience in the stands. So she’s not going this time.”