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Montana: 49ers should start Garoppolo in 2023

Michael Zagaris / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Brock Purdy's impressive 2022 season apparently wasn't enough to change Joe Montana's mind about who the San Francisco 49ers should start at quarterback moving forward.

The 49ers legend - who's previously supported Jimmy Garoppolo as the club's QB1 over 2021 third overall pick Trey Lance - recently said Garoppolo remains the best option for San Francisco under center over Purdy and Lance.

"I start Jimmy," Montana said on the "Open Mike" podcast when asked what the 49ers should do at quarterback in 2023. "How many games has Jimmy won? For the longest time, questions were out with Jimmy for a while. But the one thing he has been able to do is to win games for those guys. He'll make a mistake here and there, but some of those things I don't just put on Jimmy."

The 49ers carry a big question mark at quarterback in 2023. They began the 2022 campaign with Lance as the No. 1 guy, but he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 that forced San Francisco to ride with Garoppolo. However, Garoppolo fractured his foot in Week 13, leaving Purdy - the last overall pick in the 2022 draft - as the team's only option at QB.

Purdy took the NFL by storm, posting a 5-0 record while helping the 49ers reach the divisional round. Many considered Purdy the front-runner for the starting job in 2023 before he suffered a torn UCL in the NFC championship game that could sideline him until at least training camp.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan recently said it's unlikely that Garoppolo, set to become a free agent, returns in 2023. But Montana said he believes the veteran's knowledge of the offense should speak louder in this case.

"Yeah, (Garoppolo) made a crazy throw and mistake in the playoff game a couple of years ago, but he has won a lot of games," Montana said. "I can't say the same for Trey. You don't know that from him. ... You start the guy who has won all the games for you. You've got to figure out the backup situation with Trey. Does Trey know the offense well enough?"

Lance started four games over the last two years.

Garoppolo has battled multiple injuries throughout his career and has made 55 regular-season starts since 2017, going 38-17. He completed 67.2% of his passes for 2,437 yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions in 11 appearances in 2022.

The 31-year-old is also 4-2 in the playoffs. Garoppolo helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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