In t-minus four days, quarterback Brock Purdy will make his first NFL regular season start as he steps in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo (foot). The San Francisco 49ers rookie already made history on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, becoming the first "Mr. Irrelevant" (Round 7, Pick #262 in the 2022 NFL Draft) to throw a touchdown pass in an NFL game. In the team's Week 14 matchup versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Purdy is out to complete another feat that's never been done before - face Tom Brady in a first-career start and come away with a win. Six other QBs have previously gone head-to-head with the seven-time Super Bowl champion and are 0-6 all-time.
"I don't like to overthink things, or anything like that," Purdy said. "l'm trying to keep it simple, play football, go against a great defense and try and get the ball to playmakers. I'm not overthinking anything else."
Purdy went on to say his focus is less on Brady coming to town and more so on Tampa Bay's defense. The Buccaneers defensive unit may not be quite as relentless as that of San Francisco but they still rank fifth overall in scoring defense and seventh overall against the pass.
Thursday marked the rookie's second day of practice as the 49ers QB1 and he closed it out with the same confidence head coach Kyle Shanahan and his teammates have spoken about throughout the week.
"I think just naturally playing the position of quarterback, you have to do your part of getting everyone on the same page, moving in the right direction," Purdy said when asked about the reason for that confidence. "Since I've been a kid, playing sports and being a competitor, that has a little bit to do with it as well. And, just playing the position, it naturally comes from that."
Prepping for the Arrival of Tom Brady
The person zeroing in on the nuances of Brady this week is defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.
"It's a really tough challenge for the best quarterback to ever play the game," Ryans said. "It's one that guys are looking forward to and won't get this much in their career."
Ryans had the opportunity to line up opposite of Brady twice as a player, once during his time with the Houston Texans and a second time as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. He's got one check in the win column from those two meetings and a chance to secure a win as coach for the first time this coming weekend.
"I was a young player in Houston. We went up to New England, and he diced us up pretty bad. We didn't stop them at all," Ryans said. "Then I have one memory from the Eagles where we were able to actually beat them in New England, so it was a pretty cool moment there. Tom is a special guy, in his own category."
This 2022 season is a historically down year for the veteran quarterback. Per NFL research, it's the first time Brady doesn't have a winning record in the first 12 games of a season. His 16 passing touchdowns are also his fewest through 12 games since 2003 (15), and his 6.4 yards per pass attempt is the lowest since 2002 (6.3). Regardless of those stats, Brady can make opposing defenses pay, as seen in his late surge against the New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football."
"To go against the best and see where you are against the best to do it is a really cool challenge, and we're all excited about it," Ryans said.
Practice Participation Report for Thursday
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