49ers Mailbag: The growth of Trey Lance

Quarterback (5) Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers rolls out to pass against the Houston Texans in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Santa Clara, CA. The 49ers defeated the Texans 23-7. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)

When I went to the mailbox this morning, I found it full of questions about one player.

It’s Trey mania among the 49ers Faithful after the rookie quarterback led the 49ers to a 23-7 victory over Houston on Sunday.

Let’s open the mail.

Rich McDonald @rbernard99 – What were the two biggest improvements you saw in Lance’s two starts?

The two improvements that caught my eye go together. Lance’s ability to trust what he is seeing and get the ball out with anticipation was much better than what we from him back in week five against Arizona.

For example, the throw below from Lance to Aiyuk at the end of the first half is excellent. Lance sees the hole and throws it, trusting Aiyuk to make the adjustment.

Another good example of Lance seeing the opening and getting the ball out quick came on third down early in the fourth quarter. Facing third and three, Lance hits his back foot and drives the ball to Jauan Jennings. The ball is coming out well before Jennings makes his out cut, and although the throw is a bit inaccurate, the timing makes does not allow the cornerback to make a play on the ball.

Mewsley28 – Should Kyle think long term and start Trey and give him this great experience or short term and start JG?

I feel confident in stating the 49ers will ride with Trey Lance the rest of the season even if Kyle Shanahan won’t announce it.

Trey Lance represents the future, San Francisco made that known when they used three first round picks and a third rounder to select the quarterback and his performance against Houston shows the time is now.

If Lance had not suffered a knee injury against Arizona in his week five start, it’s likely he would have been the starting quarterback moving forward.

Ryo @ 9erRyo – What would you say to the crowd that argues quarterbacks only develop with playing time?

I would tell them their stance is incorrect.

There are strong arguments and examples that can be used on both sides of the “play now” or “sit and learn” arguments. 

When you compare the results from Lance’s second start to the other quarterbacks from the 2021 draft class it is hard to argue the 49ers were wrong in the way they handled Lance.

The strong showing and improvement from Lance against Houston match what Fred Warner, Trent Williams, George Kittle, and Kyle Shanahan stated publicly last week.

Each noted growth they have seen from Lance throughout the year with Shanahan stating, “this last month of Trey has been his been consecutive four weeks of practice since we’ve had him.”

The improvement was noticeable on Sunday.

During the draft process, there were several analysts and fans who compared Lance to Steve McNair.

McNair was selected by Houston with the third selection in the 1995 draft. During his first three seasons with the Oilers, McNair made only six starts. It took until McNair’s third year with Houston before he would be named the starter.

Big Golden Nuggets @BGN_49 – More likely to happen, 49ers win in Los Angeles or Falcons beat Saints?

I don’t think either of these will occur, but If I was a betting man, I would put my money on the 49ers winning in Los Angeles.

Don’t forget, San Francisco was only up by three on Sunday against Houston in the fourth quarter.

The Texans were inside the 49ers’ redzone until Arden Key came up with a big sack on third down and Kai’imi Fairbairn missed a 45-yard field goal attempt.

On paper this game should go to Los Angeles, however, there’s just something about this matchup that consistently favors San Francisco.

As for Atlanta and New Orleans, the Falcons have not swept the season series with New Orleans since Kyle Shanahan was their offensive coordinator in 2016.

Max – How long do you think you could survive a fight to the death against Trent Williams in a phone booth?

Have you seen Trent Williams? He’s huge. I don’t think he could even fit in a phone booth.

Please don’t kill me, Trent.

This article has 12 Comments

  1. I think all the young guys on this blog are trying to figure out what a phone booth is.

    1. Hey I just read your comment on Tim Krumrie on the previous blog post. Super interested in this comment because I succinctly remember that Krumrie stuck his leg out to trip Roger Craig resulting in him breaking his leg. I was young at the time so I probably remembered wrong, but did the 49ers really cause his broken leg in the Super Bowl with a chop block?

      This would be news to me because I remember being so angry at him flying his leg out like that, which could have seriously injured Craig. He wound up breaking his own leg, or I so I thought.

      1. You could be right. Bob Mckitrick was famous for coaching cutting and chop blocks. My recollection was it was a chop block because of that history. But I could definitely be wrong.

      2. What I remember is the slow-motion replay of Krumrie changing directions with so much force that his leg snapped.

  2. Massive game this week. We could be home on the outside looking in when the playoffs start unless we win, against a top opponent, on their field.

    Seems totally surreal that we could drop from the 6th seed to totally out of it because of some stupid 3-way tie breaker rule that discounts head-to-head and doesn’t quite make sense. Although that isn’t quite the deal if Philly wins this weekend.

    Above all though is the issue that we didn’t take care of business when we needed to. Some of the games (Seahawks x2, Green Bay, Titans) come to mind. Looking back it’s gotta hurt that we could have won several games had the focus been there, but managed to find a way to lose. We did win in Cincy which I thought was one we might lose, but just felt like we left a lot of wins on the table.

    I had the team W-L at 10-7 in training camp, so I hope that’s what we finish at and wreak havoc in the playoffs.

    1. Ya tough break on the tie breaker haha especially considering the Eagles beat the Saints too!

      If we don’t make it because of games like the L against Seattle both times at least it will spare us a frustrating loss in the playoffs where special teams likely would be an issue for losing again.

      1. The Rams have an interesting case for winning this game. They are currently the #2 seed and wouldn’t have to travel at all unless the Packers make it to the NFC Championship.

        If they lose, and other teams win their favorable matchups, the Rams could finish in a wild card seeded 5th. Arizona can still capture the division.

        It will be interesting to see what the Rams show us this weekend. If the Rams pull surprises out of their hats in terms of play calls and moving Aaron Donald around, and beat us, but the Saints lose, it’s likely we’ll play them again in the first playoff round. So how creative does McVay get?

        Lots of scoreboard watching this weekend.

    2. 2 years ago we were in a similar situation, we needed a win on the road against the Seahawks to secure the top seed (although a lost still get us in to the playoff) and now another must win to guarantee a playoff spot. For some reasons, and it doesn’t matter which QB starts for us, I’m more confident about the chances of us winning this game than 2 years ago. Maybe because we’ve beaten the Rams lately….

      1. Same. We just suck in Seattle, no matter how bad the Seahawks are. Conversely we have tons of confidence against the Rams. Athletic/fast defenses generally do well against LA.

  3. Looks like Covid has hit the 49ers HARD. Almost the entire defensive back field may be out. If they aren’t all back by Sun it could get ugly quick.

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