Who would know how tough it is to defend Trey Lance than the 49ers defense?
Kyle Shanahan told reporters late in 2021 that December had been Lance’s best consecutive four weeks of practice since joining the 49ers, and the defensive coaches and players would all say the same.
Later that day, Fred Warner was asked about what he’d seen from Lance over the latter part of the 2021 season.
“I think his confidence has continued to grow and grow,” said Warner. “I think early on in the season working on the scout team he was playing things safer, using his legs a lot to run, didn’t want to throw an interception.”
It may have been a conversation with the All-Pro linebacker that helped turn things around for Lance.
“I kind of had to pull him to the side and tell him, ‘This is your opportunity to take chances and develop in that part of your game. Take a chance. See if you can fit the ball into tight spaces. Can you make a big play down the field?’ said Warner.
“After that conversation he started to just grow, and you started to see these crazy plays where he’s just getting the ball right over guy’s fingertips and making great plays downfield. It’s just a confidence thing.”
With all signs pointing to Lance taking over the starting quarterback role for San Francisco this season, the positive comments from the defense have continued to flow.
During the first two weeks of OTA practices, DeMeco Ryans, Talanoa Hufanga, and Jimmie Ward have all spoken highly of Lance’s performance on the practice field.
“I think Trey has done a great job. It’s good to see him with his command and him running the offense,” said Ryans. “He’s zipping it past us a lot, so he’s making it tough on us. Trey has done a great job. It’s good to see him just coming into his own role as a leader and being able to take control of the team. We’re fired up, fired up for Trey and what he can do for us.”
“That dude can sling the rock,” said Talanoa Hufanga. “Trey’s been tremendous. What he can do on the field is just outstanding. You love to go against that competition each and every day.”
According to Jimmy Ward, “Trey’s got that strong arm, so he’s going to zip the ball in. If you give him any space and he trust it, he can zip it in. I like where he’s at right now.”
During an offseason that has seen him take a lot of arrows from some in the national media, Trey Lance has received a great deal of praise from those who have actually seen him play.