Brandon Allen

Why Allen views 49ers as ‘best fit' despite stacked QB room

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SANTA CLARA — After spending the past three years as the Cincinnati Bengals’ backup, Brandon Allen opted to sign this offseason with a team that already had three talented quarterbacks under contract.

Allen signed a one-year contract with the 49ers in May to join a team that already had Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold on the team. He received $200,000 in guaranteed money.

“When we looked around at the overall team, coaches, offense, I think this was probably going to be the best fit for me,” Allen told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday.

“I’m just trying to show that I can play in this system and that I belong.”

Allen, 30, proved to coach Kyle Shanahan he is worthy of getting a legitimate opportunity to stick. Shanahan faces a challenge of finding enough practice time for each of the quarterbacks this summer.

“Brandon came on and did a really good job in OTAs,” Shanahan said. “So that's to me what makes it a little bit harder, how to fit in a fourth guy. But he earned that, and so that's what we're going to have to figure out as a staff with reps and everything.”

Purdy has been cleared to return to action after undergoing significant offseason elbow surgery. His first practice is scheduled for Thursday.

While the major competition will take place between Lance and Darnold for the backup job, Allen says his sole focus is on taking advantage of any opportunity he is afforded.

“I don’t worry much about the reps I’m given,” Allen said. “I’ve been a (No. 3 QB) early in my career, too. There were a lot of days when I didn’t get reps. So I know how it is to have to produce when you get the reps. It’s nothing new to me.”

The 49ers are the fifth stop in Allen’s NFL journey, which began in 2016 as a sixth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars after a four-year collegiate career at Arkansas.

He served as a third-stringer with the Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams before moving onto the Denver Broncos, where he started three games in 2019.

In his three seasons with the Bengals, Allen served as the backup to Joe Burrow. Allen started six games with the Bengals, including a memorable 371-yard passing game in a late-season victory over the Houston Texans in 2020.

After gaining experience in an offense with the Bengals that is similar to Shanahan’s system, Allen said he was able to step in with the 49ers and get up to speed in short order.

“It was probably going to be the smoothest transition to come in a little later and pick it up quickly,” he said. “Some of the terminology is a little different. But in terms of reads and routes and where you go from play to play, I was familiar with that aspect of it.”

Listed at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Allen might not measure up to the size and arm strength of Lance or Darnold. But his experience taught him he is well-suited to succeed in the 49ers' offense.

“If you can play within the system and use the talent around you, those are the biggest things,” Allen said. “This offense is designed to get guys open. So your biggest job is to put the ball where it needs to go against the right coverage with accuracy.

“This system works well for quarterbacks who can just be accurate and play on time.”

Although it seems unlikely the 49ers would seriously consider keeping four quarterbacks, Allen knows all he can control is taking care of business in practices and preseason games.

“I am out to make the most of my opportunities,” he said. “With the reps and preseason games and all that, my plan is to play well every time I can get in a game or a practice.”

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