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QB Sam Darnold: Learning Niners' offense 'a work in progress'

With July 4th in the rearview, the NFL hits its final sleepy weeks before things ramp up for training camps later this month.

Once camps begin, one of the more intriguing storylines will be the San Francisco 49ers quarterback situation. Brock Purdy remains on track in rehab and is expected to be the starter if fully healthy. However, he'll likely be brought along slowly early in camp, and any setback could open the door for Trey Lance or Sam Darnold to start the season under center.

Regardless, at the very least, Darnold and Lance are destined to battle for the backup gig. Lance, who the Niners traded up to select No. 3 overall in 2021, would seem to have a leg up knowing Kyle Shanahan's system. Darnold, himself a former No. 3 pick on his third club, has received positive reviews during offseason workouts.

The 26-year-old Darnold recently told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan at teammate George Kittle's Tight End University that he's still getting his feet wet in the system.

"It's been a work in progress," Darnold said. "I thought I got better throughout (mini) camp and just got more comfortable with the system, so I still got to study and go through the process of continuing to learn the system. But I'm excited for it, and it's been really fun so far."

After washing out in New York and looking similarly lost in Carolina, Darnold hopes to revitalize his career under Shanahan's tutelage. Given the number of offenses Darnold has had to learn in his first five years, grasping the offense during training camp shouldn't be a concern. How he performs under fire will determine whether he's ahead or behind Lance on the depth chart when the season opens.

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