Skip to content

Why 49ers QB coach Brian Griese decided to return for the second season

Why Griese decided to return to the 49ers for the second season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA — The experience of being part of a team 13 years after retiring from the NFL was an influence on Brian Griese’s decision to return as 49ers quarterbacks coach.

There was uncertainty if the ex-ESPN commentator would want to sacrifice time in Denver with his family for a second season with the club. On Thursday, Griese shared with local Bay Area media the factors that influenced his decision to return to the 49ers for the 2023 season.

“I was fulfilled in the job,” Griese said. “I talk to our guys a lot about self-actualization and this is an opportunity for me to embrace a new challenge in my life, at this point in the journey. I appreciate that, and I appreciate the opportunity, and I just love being a part of a team — competing, winning and losing.”

What started out as a “normal” job coaching quarterbacks in the NFL turned into the unimaginable. Before the NFC Championship game ended, the 49ers saw four different quarterbacks under center throughout the 2022 season.

Trey Lance, who was tapped as the starter before training camp began, suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2, which opened the door for Jimmy Garoppolo to take over as the starter. Then, 11 weeks later, rookie Brock Purdy took over and helped the team reach the NFC Championship Game. Before the game was over, the club’s fourth quarterback, Josh Johnson saw time on the field as well.

Griese has received a great deal of credit for managing and coaching his group well enough to continue deep into the postseason. The NFL alum’s 11 years of experience in the league made him a valuable resource for every quarterback who jumped into the fray.

“I don’t think that my experience helps them get through the stress of it,” Griese said. “I think the stress is the stress, and you have to build tools to manage that stress. I think I can help them look into some of those tools, but everyone is different.

“I try to help them anticipate some of the stress that will be coming, maybe some of the heat that’s around the corner, but it’s a difficult position. There’s no easy way, You have to learn from experiences.”

Both Garoppolo and Purdy shared that Griese’s ability to see the game through a quarterback’s eyes was a valuable trait for a coach. While at times, it wasn’t the easiest quality for them to deal with, in the end, it was extremely valuable.

“I do the best that I possibly can to prepare them for that to help them understand that there will be ups and downs and how we manage through that,” Griese said. “Ultimately the best way you can manage that is through relationships on the team and the locker room and that’s what they all have.”

RELATED: How the 49ers’ special teams are adapting to the new NFL kickoff rule

Griese already has a new set of challenges this season with the arrival of Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen to Santa Clara, while finally getting to work with a healthy Lance until Purdy is fully recovered from the UCL injury he suffered in that fateful NFC Championship Game that Griese would prefer not to talk about it.

“Oh, man, I don’t really want to go back there right now,” Griese said after a long pause. “You go through a whole season and there’s a lot of sacrifices from all of us. Just being away from family in my instance. But you get to the point where it’s, ‘OK, we’re finally here and we’re going to take our shot.’ And it felt like pretty quickly in that game it was, ‘We really don’t have a shot.'”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast