May 22, 2023
The NFL passed a rule change Monday afternoon that will now allow teams to carry an emergency third quarterback in the rare event that both the starter and the backup go down.
The change is in no doubt stemming from the NFC Championship Game back in January, when the 49ers lost Brock Purdy and then Josh Johnson to injury, and like every excuse the Niners have come up with since that 31-7 thrashing from the Eagles, it wouldn't have mattered.
The official language of the new rule via league PR man Brian McCarthy:
Here’s the full proposal that passed moments ago at the league meeting pic.twitter.com/dwO4OPWIAP— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) May 22, 2023
That a change like this went through after both the game itself and San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan's stated support of it in the aftermath isn't much of a shock, but it's one where if you think about it for just a few seconds, how is it really going to help a team in that extreme of a situation, especially when you apply it to the Niners' circumstances specifically?
Having blown through Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo already by that point, San Francisco lost Purdy early into that game because they decided in their offensive gameplan that keeping him protected from Haason Reddick wasn't that big of a priority, then they lost Johnson just as fast for mostly the same reason and with the added disadvantage of being in a 21-7 hole.
What emergency third-stringer could reasonably be expected to dig a team out of that? Nick Foles, maybe?
The change will give teams a bit more roster flexibility, sure, but if any club is on to their third QB in a single game, the likelihood is that contest is already way far gone. You're looking at next week by that point, that is, if your season has a next week.
In other news, it was also announced Monday that the Eagles will open their preseason Saturday, August 12 against the Ravens in Baltimore.
They'll get an NFC Championship rematch against the Niners in Week 13 (Sunday, December 3), and San Francisco will probably be on their seventh QB by then.
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