49ers Mailbag: What Trey Lance needs to do be the starting quarterback

The NFL draft is in our rear-view mirror and rookie minicamp for the 49ers isn’t set to kick off until next Friday making this the perfect opportunity to finally get outside and check the mailbag.

What does Trey Lance need to do to take the starting quarterback job? Do you see any scenario where the 49ers don’t lose, and Lance doesn’t get benched when Brock Purdy comes back?  – Cody Pilgrim, @CodyPilgrim 8

The biggest issues for Lance during his first two seasons in San Francisco have been lack of accuracy and consistency.

Lance has all the potential in the world, and with Brock Purdy out while recovering from surgery on his throwing elbow, the door is open for the former first round pick to take over. He needs to go out and leave no doubt in the minds of his coaches and teammates that he deserves the starting job.

This is what we saw from Brock Purdy during the regular season. The rookie came in and instead of the offensive production slowing down, it improved to levels not before seen in Kyle Shanahan’s tenure with San Francisco.

It’s clear Lance has more than enough arm strength to hit every throw in the 49ers playbook. In addition to the big downfield throws, he needs to show he can consistently make the underneath throws which help keep the offense flowing. 

Regarding the second question, it’s hard to imagine Kyle Shanahan pulling Lance off the field in favor of Purdy if the 49ers are winning and the quarterback is playing well. That would go against what we have seen over the last six seasons.

Are Jaylon Moore and Ambry Thomas on the hot seat? – Andrew H, @ahredsox


Thomas saw his snaps reduced from 333 during his rookie campaign to just 41 this past season. The addition of Darrell Luter Jr. in round five seems to be targeted at forcing Thomas to earn his roster spot in 2023.

For Moore, the 49ers didn’t add any offensive linemen during the draft however they added veterans Jon Feliciano and Matt Pryor during free agency.

The addition of Feliciano, an interior offensive lineman, could signal a move to right tackle for Spencer Burford.

What is the point of rookie minicamp? Does Trey Lance show up to help the rookies? What does rookie minicamp look like? Can you walk us through that process? – Greg Thames, @ontheriverfilms

Rookie minicamp is for the new players to get their feet wet.

All the 49ers 2023 draft picks, new undrafted free agent signing, undrafted free agent tryouts, injured veteran players, veteran tryout players and select first year players get to work at the team’s facility.

Rookie minicamp looks just like any other practice. Players start with stretching before moving to individual work. From there the quarterback(s) work on throwing routes to the receivers and tight ends with a short team or 7-on-7 session to wrap up the day.

What’s your favorite 49ers draft pick and why? – CG Ruthless, @cgruthless1

I felt like the 49ers did a good job of acquiring players who can provide depth to their roster now while developing into larger roles in a season or two.

The one position player who has the potential to crack the starting lineup this year is linebacker Dee Winters.

San Francisco is set with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, however the departure of Azeez Al-Shaair in free agency leaves an opening.

For Winters to fill the hole, the rookie will need to beat out veterans Oren Burks and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles.

With the lack of draft picks on the defensive line, especially on the edge, do you see a guy like undrafted free agent Spencer Waege making a run at the 53-man roster? – Mike Finn, @IceCreamJudas5

It’s going to be very difficult for any of the undrafted free agents to make the 49ers final roster. The team already has so many talented players across the board.

At defensive end they have veterans Nick Bosa, Drake Jackson, Clelin Ferrell, Kerry Hyder, Austin Bryant, Alex Barrett and just added Robert Beal Jr. in round five.

On the inside they have Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, T.Y. McGill, and Kalia Davis.

That’s 13 solid players for a group where they usually only keep 9-11 on the active roster.

This article has 29 Comments

  1. I hope that Trey Lance plays well. I think he is talented, but circumstances have been less than ideal for him to show his skills. I think he will get an opportunity in the first ~ four games as I don’t think Purdy will be quite ready.

  2. He needs to hope and pray that Purdy and Darnold decide to retire before the season. Then he can be the starter!

  3. I know a lot of people were high on Brendel. My theory is people expected him to be the worst Center in NFL history so when he was only the 30th-ranked Center in 2022 people were pleasantly surprised. I form my opinions based on what I see on the field. When Brendel was able to combo block on 1 techs he wasn’t God Awful. Rugby Live He was just merely below average. When Bendel was forced to block 0 techs or 1v1 on 1 techs he got absolutely destroyed on a regular basis. Go watch the video of Trey Lance’s injury. Al Woods threw Brendel around like Brendel was a piece of lint on a cashmere sweater. And I specifically didn’t mention Banks. Williams/Banks is a respectable combo. Brendel, Burford, and McKivitz is horrible. The 49ers can not win the Superbowl with those guys as their starters on the O-line. D Coordinators will figure out schemes to absolutely destroy that side of the line.

    1. The 49ers were top ten in Oline rankings in most of the sites I’ve looked at. They also went to a NFCCG with Tom Compton at right tackle and a SB with a journeyman C and RG. Brendel played well enough to get an extension in his first real shot as a starter and based on their history with an array of different players I trust the 49ers know what they are doing.

      1. They played well enough to send 3 QB’s to the hospital and end their seasons. There’s that. Kyle tries to scheme away the line problem instead of addressing it. We can hope if we get down to number 4 next year he will have a better answer than Josh Johnson.

        1. The Olines play had nothing to do with any of the QB injuries. Both Lance and JG suffered lower leg injuries outside the pocket and Purdy was injured on a poor block by the TE. The OL has been addressed multiple times in FA and the draft. People getting bent out of shape because they didn’t take one in this draft have a really short memory.

          1. Did you see what Al Woods did to Jake Brendel on Trey Lance’s injury? Either the injury was a direct result of truly horrible play design by Kyle Shanahan or terrible O-line play by Jake Brendel. In my opinion, Trey Lance’s injury was a little bit of both.

              1. Exactly. D-lineman are coached to hold the point of attack, read and then go to play side. Brendel has one job on that play. Seal off his right side. Woods uses 1 arm to hold Brendel at the point of attack, even pushing him back slightly. Doesn’t help that McGlinchey gets caught up behind him but if Brendel is able to make his first step that wouldn’t have mattered. Woods absolutely controlled Brendel on that play. That first one arm punch is too much for Brendel to handle. When Woods start moving play side Brendel is off balance so he starts swinging his arm but he’s too far back to even get a hand on Woods. Jake Brendel has decent athleticism but he lacks the strength necessary to handle true 0 techs.

          2. im so tired of this corny “blame game crap”! sports is equal parts talent, preparation and luck! Injuries’ happen when you fail at the “luck” aspect of it. This is a brutal contact sport, an injury could occur at any moment, on any play…….all parties involved know and accept the risks……..this is why they make the big $$$!!!
            The only entity that could ever be “blamed” is fake grass! Artificial turf is dangerous.
            can you imagine if the guys in the locker room thought the same way as the dorks on the internet?? The animosity??!
            Aneas Williams ended Steve Youngs career on a blitz!!! No one blamed him for the hit, no one blamed the coach ……only a few ppl even blamed Lawrence Phillips for missing the block.

            please stop getting your opinions from grant cohn. He’s a tabloid reporter

      2. Common sense often looses out on this blog. People who sit on their couch to watch the game often think they know more than the experts.

        1. Boy..ain’t that the truth…they watch the games and look at Cohn’s ‘Niner Whine Time’ YT channel, and become overnight NFL scouts and talent evaluators..

    2. I continue to be astonished that Lynch has been unable to trade for or draft at least an average center. This blind spot has gone on for years.

    3. I posted this exact post, word for word, a few blog entries ago. But I am not this person who posted this on this entry. They copied my post exactly and then posted here where it doesn’t have anything to do with the eactual blog entry. This is very weird.

      1. Pat,
        Quite a few of the posts here seem very strange. Jack’s IT crew needs to look into it.

  4. Nick Foles is available. He did win a Super Bowl afterall which the 49ers haven’t done in close to 30 years.

  5. Re Lance: Pretty certain he will start at the beginning of the season. If they win and the offense performs he has a chance. If he loses it’s see ya! Oh and there’s that Kyle’s teams start out the year playing fairly poorly thing.

  6. I think Beal is intriguing and has a real chance to make the final 53. I agree with the writer that Lance needs to show well. Many question his first-round draft status much less trading 3 first-rounders to get an unproven, minor-league QB who rarely played. Terrible decision and Lynch knows it now.
    Purdy won’t be ready for at least 4-6 weeks and perhaps the entire season. Look for Darnold to start for the indefinite future if Lance is still not ready.

  7. The biggest news over the next couple weeks will be, whether the 49ers sign a FA DE. Leonard Floyd would be my choice. Floyd would make the 9er D into the most dominant D in the NFL. If they don’t sign a top level FA DE expect Wilks to blitz quite a bit.

  8. Trey Lance’s biggest issue is that he needs to play and gain experience. Unfortunately, he was drafted by a team that has refused to fully commit to playing him so he could actually develop (despite all the draft capital that was invested). I’ve never seen anything like it. If Lance was my son we would have been requested a trade.

    1. They drafted him #3 and gave up huge assets to get him. Then they just handed him the job last year. How can you say they didn’t commit to him? Unfortunately he got injured and then another quarterback played better than Trey but that has noth8ngbto do with commitment.

  9. I like Trey Lance, but the reality is that he just can’t be good, he will need to be extremely good to at the very least, beat out Darnold for the #2 job.

    Purdy is going to be the starter when he’s healthy enough to play. I don’t expect any surprises, in fact, I would only be mildly surprised if Darnold beats out Lance.

  10. Quarterback schmarterbach who cares,
    The GOAT is Dick night train Lane !!
    Check the record and knock off the silly political biased lying and fibbing;
    Quit dancin’ or pays the piper.
    Now shut up and win a Super Bowl. Or cry trying. BooYa

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