Florio calls for NFL rule change after 49ers quarterback debacle

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If the 49ers had any sliver of a chance remaining after starting quarterback Brock Purdy left Sunday's NFC title game with an elbow injury, those chances were all but lost when his backup, Josh Johnson, was knocked out with a concussion.

It wasn't a great viewing experience for many fans -- except perhaps Eagles enthusiasts -- and the heavily penalized 49ers players even seemed to grow visibly frustrated playing in a hopeless situation.

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But Pro Football Talk editor and lead writer Mike Florio thinks there's one possible solution to keep this type of scenario from reaching the near-farcical proportions seen on Sunday.

According to Florio, the re-adoption of an emergency quarterback rule would at least allow teams to dress a third-stringer if the worst should come to pass.

There was a similar rule in place up until 2011, Florio writes, at which point the league simply expanded rosters by one player. But most teams responded by suiting up an extra player at a position other than quarterback.

But the league could ensure the emergency roster spot could only be used for a quarterback, with the stipulation that the first two quarterbacks on the depth chart cannot return to the game if the third-stringer is inserted.

As Florio points out, the chances of a third-string quarterback making much of a difference in the outcome of a game is fairly slim. But then again, Brock Purdy, the 49ers' starter on Sunday, was at one point third on the team depth chart behind Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Even if Purdy is the exception in that regard, you have to think most teams could dress a third-stringer who would give them a better chance of winning than running gadget formations with running backs and wide receivers taking direct snaps.

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