George Kittle

Why Kittle believes Purdy detractors still doubt 49ers QB

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SANTA CLARA — Quarterback Brock Purdy set franchise records and led the NFL in passer rating and yards per attempt.

Purdy went from being the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft to winning more Pro Bowl votes than any player in the league in his first full season as the 49ers' starter and being a finalist for league MVP.

Yet, some people with platforms have expressed less-than-glowing reviews of Purdy, who leads the 49ers into the NFC Championship game on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Perhaps some of those opinions come from folks who have not watched him play much or are trying to gain attention through contrarian opinions.

All-Pro tight end George Kittle offered a reason why Purdy might have some non-believers.

"My guess is he's the most normal-looking, average dude that you could possibly look at," Kittle said of Purdy in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area.

"So why is he so good? It has to be because he's got multiple All-Pros around him. He's got a good offensive line. He's got an amazing running back next to him. The defense is really good. There's no pressure on him. Kyle Shanahan is really good at what he does."

But Kittle believes the main reason Purdy is so good is because, well, Purdy is so good.

Kittle, echoing teammate Brandon Aiyuk's comments earlier this week, said he believes Purdy is not just along for the ride. Rather, Kittle believes Purdy is the key component of the 49ers' offensive success.

"The reason that we're here today is because of what (No.) 13 has done — what he does every single day; what he does on Sundays; when he gets us the ball in space," Kittle said.

"I've seen a lot [of] quarterback play that isn't great — not here with the 49ers but around the league," Kittle said. "The way that Brock plays all the time, he's the one who elevates us and that allows us to play at a high level. It's a lot of nonsense. I think he's the easiest target for people to talk crap about."

Purdy won the 49ers' long-term starting job at the end of last season when he took over for injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers won two playoff games with Purdy as the starter and advanced to the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Purdy sustained a torn elbow ligament in the first quarter and the 49ers' season came to an end.

"(When) we got on the plane, I had no doubts that Brock Purdy was going to be our starter that year unless the surgery went wrong or something," Kittle said.

Kittle said he does not feel the need to respond to all of Purdy's high-profile critics because he said Purdy is so unflappable and immune to such discourse.

"If I was worried about Brock's confidence and his self-monologue or his self-talk, sure, I'd feel like I'd have to defend him," Kittle said.

"But Brock is a very confident human being. He knows what he can do. He knows what he does well. He knows what he means to this team. He knows the confidence he instills in us. I'm never worried about Brock."

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