Lance struggles again and other observations from day 10 at 49ers training camp

Here is what stood out from the 49ers tenth practice during training camp in Santa Clara.

Fred Warner

Warner may be an All-Pro, but every day he can be seen working on something to improve his game during the special teams period to open practice. Today Warner’s focus was on improving a pass rush move. After working with LB Johnny Holland for a couple of minutes, Nick Bosa came over to offer his advice and show Warner how he does it. Pretty cool to see two of the best defensive players in the game work together. 

During team drills, Warner read the eyes of Trey Lance and stepped in front of tight end Tyler Kroft for an interception, Warner’s second off Lance in camp.

Javon Kinlaw

Kinlaw has been physical and continues to look better each practice as he works to get his legs back underneath him. The key for Kinlaw is to keep his pad level down, and he often wins when he does this.

Today Kinlaw kept his pads down as he came up with a stop against the run. With D.J. Jones now in Denver, it will be on Kinlaw to step up his run defense.

Jimmie Ward

Ward broke up a pass over the middle intended for Brandon Aiyuk. The pass from Lance was high, forcing Aiyuk to leave his feet. Ward saw it coming and hit Aiyuk as the ball arrived to force the incompletion.

George Odum

The backup safety and special teams ace sniffed out a reverse to Deebo Samuel, stopping the wide back for only one yard gain. 

Samuel Womack

Womack ran step for step with Ray Ray McCloud and got a hand on the ball to knock away a pass over the middle from Nate Sudfeld. The rookie continues to impress in the slot.

Marcelino McCrary-Ball

McCrary-Ball did an excellent job of sliding underneath an out route by Troy Fumagalli to intercept a pass from Nate Sudfeld. 

Segun Olubi

When Tyrion Davis-Price bobbled a screen from Brock Purdy, Olubi was in the right place at the right time to come up with the interception.

Ray Ray McCloud

McCloud has been the best 49ers wide receiver not named Aiyuk or Samuel in camp. Today he came up with a pair of catches from Nate Sudfeld during a move the ball period.

The first catch saw McCloud twist and turn before holding on to a deep ball down the right side to defeat the coverage of Ka’dar Hollman. 

Elijah Mitchell

Mitchell has looked good running the ball during training camp. Today he showed his skills in pass protection, stepping up to stop a blitzing linebacker and give Trey Lance time to throw. 

Jeff Wilson Jr.

Wilson Jr. broke a run over the right side, made a defender miss with a quick move at the second level, and bounced off defensive backs before going down after a gain of close to 40 yards. 

Wilson’s versatility makes him a favorite to make this roster.

Trey Lance

Lance hit each of his first three passes, finding Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk over the middle and checking a throw down to Tyler Kroft after sliding to his left to avoid pressure. From that point on, he completed only one of his final nine attempts with an interception to Fred Warner. 

One area in which Lance has struggled this camp is with throws on deeper out routes to outside aligned wide receivers. These throws have usually resulted in the ball being high and well off the mark. 

Offense

During five prior attempts this week during move the ball periods, three resulted in a total of one first down and a pick-six. 

Today the offense picked up a first down on runs by Elijah Mitchell, Trey Lance, and Kyle Jusczyzk. The ensuing first down saw a Trey Lance pass over the middle to Brandon Aiyuk sail high and get broken up by Jimmie Ward. On second down, Lance moved to his left, tried to force a throw to Tyler Kroft, and was intercepted by Fred Warner.

The 49ers offense is struggling to find any rhythm, but on a positive note, they still have over a month to get things together before week one in Chicago.

This article has 24 Comments

  1. Jack.
    Thanks for your report.
    Is it to early to be concerned about Lance’ TC progress?

    Our defense has the makings of a top 3 D in 2022 and I keep convincing myself that this is part of the reason for Trey’ up and down practices. But what concerns me most is the overthrown and inaccurate long passes.
    Question : I’m a right to be a little concerned?

    1. Thank you for reading, AES.

      I think it’s okay to be a little concerned about Lance, but there’s no need to push the panic button just yet. There’s still over a month to go before week 1.

      1. Jack
        These are my observations of Lance and the 9ers at training camp! Do you agree?
        * Lance is experiencing what’s know as a BAPTISM OF FIRE!
        * He’s a young man with 1/2 the college experience of most QB’s taking over a top NFL offense. (pressure)!
        * He’s taking a huge step up from SDSU to the NFL.
        * He’s playing into the teeth of one of the best D’s in the NFL
        * He’s playing behind an O-Line with more questions about it, than questions about him.

        Is it cause for concern? Yes! But when you watch him play, the first thing you notice is..
        * The game is NOT too big for him and he’s comfortable in his own skin.
        * He makes mistakes, but does NOT get down on himself, hang his head and withdraw, or over compensate!
        * He does NOT make the same mistake twice, he learns from it and moves on.
        * The vets on the team have accepted him.
        * As Bosa says, “Lance has a good enough team around him that he doesn’t need to worry about winning games by himself. He just needs to make sure he doesn’t make any mistakes that lose games.”
        * And Last, but not least: HE IS ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER! HE has the talent, he just needs more reps! The only question is….HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

        1. GEEP makes sense to me! I worry about the lack of consistent accuracy mainly. Receivers will give him the benefit of the doubt (Kyle did choose him over others). But, they will grow frustrated eventually if he misses them. Receivers love QBs that give them an opportunity to succeed in their craft. But yes, he is having to step up from the minor collegiate ranks to head a great NFL franchise.

          I like his moral center, maturity, and his great parents. Hard to beat a solid, stable family with two parents! I loved seeing the interviews with them.

    2. I agree on the inaccuracy issues, but not surprised considering how much he has played. It’s hard to see a scenario where in 2-3 years he is less accurate than he is now.

      I think Lance will be able to make plays with his legs this season to make this a competitive season. It is such a fine balance between running and making plays with your arm and when it matters most
      you HAVE to deliver with your arm.

  2. Thanks Jack.
    I also have to agree with Coach and James. We will be able to get a better gauge on Trey after a couple of games. As I mentioned earlier, our defense should be top shelf which should keep us in striking distance if the score is close.

    Once Lance is comfortable in the pocket (this assumes that the Oline improves) teams will be weary to play against us by mid November.

  3. To a certain extent, accuracy is an innate skill you either have or you don’t have as an athlete. If Lance is making the right reads but missing on the throws then that’s good and bad. Processing coverages and making the right read is really hard to do so if Lance has that down then that’s great news. I think he can improve his accuracy but it may not be something that comes naturally to him so it will take longer to fix. My expert opinion from my couch is that Lance struggles with accuracy because he has an inconsistent wrist angle and his arm slot is more 3/4 than overhand. If he doesn’t fix those things, he will never be a very accurate passer. Also, his wrist issues look like result in very wobbly and “heavy” throws which are hard to catch so that’s part of the reason for the WR drops. He doesn’t throw a “catchable ball” as Bill Walsh used to call it. I recall how observers used to report that the ball never touched the ground during practices with Joe Montana and Steve Young were the QBs. Sounds like we may be a year or 2 away from Trey Lance running one of those types of practices.

  4. I really hate commenting on the team until the season starts,, That said, I find myself holding my breath with this QB.
    Damn right 1.6 Patriot, accuracy is an innate skill,either you have it or you don’t.
    At this level there are no surprises with a QB. Everyone knows if they are a special or not. All the talk about attitude and mind set is well and good but what matters is the ability to throw into tight windows on time every time.
    The Rogers’,Mahomes’ ,Allens’ ,Youngs’ ,Montanas’ were/are special from the get go…Do any of you see this specialness in the currant QB?

    1. Hack/1.6 (Giving you the benefit of doubt that you are two different people) ,

      You may want to revisit the first year performance of the QBs you noted. Allen , who has a similar style as Lance, sticks out .

      2018: 169/320 / 2,074 / 10TD / 12 INT
      2019: 271/461 / 3,089 / 20 TD/ 9 INT

      1. Trey Lance’s stats in a must win game versus Texans last year. Reminder that was the game right after the @ Titans debacle. Had we lost , there would’ve been no playoffs.

        Texans Game: 16/23 / 249 / 2 TD / 1 INT

      2. Definitely different people. Yes, I agree on Josh Allen. He has improved his accuracy but he still goes through periods of inaccuracy. To a certain degree, I think Young improved on his accuracy over time but his throwing mechanics were always pretty sound. Mahomes and Montana were accurate throwers coming out of the womb. I don’t know what to think of Trey yet because his sample size has been so small. The one thing I’ve noticed from him on a limited review is that his wrist angle changes way too frequently. He doesn’t stay “on top” of the ball on every throw. His wrist angle on some throws drops down underneath the ball so his 3/4 arm slot exacerbates the inaccuracy issues. I think thats why you see him throw some serious ducks sometimes. I am definitely not a QB coach so take that for what it’s worth but his varied throwing motion seems pretty obvious to me.

      3. Rollo,
        Different Humans.
        And I take my hat off in regards to Allen. That is what happens when I hold my breath.
        See you all after the start of the season.

    2. Hacksaw,
      I agree in part with your take. The only exception is that Steve Young floundered around two leagues before finding his groove with the 49ers.
      Luckily for SY, he joined a 49ers team that had a future HOF QB and a SB ready team. Young was in a dream situation.

      This is not the case for Lance. Sure, he had Jimmy G to glean from, but at this point Trey may need a year or two to become a force in the league. But I hope I’m wrong.

  5. As I feared from the start, Trey was not worth three first-round picks. Nor will he ever be. The question is whether we need to keep Jimmy G, a competent QB. People forget were beating LA until his shoulder could no longer work. Jimmy G did us proud last year.

    1. Allie,
      I too am a JG fan but he does have 3 major weaknesses.
      #1 He is very injury prone.
      #2 He can’t throw the deep ball.
      #3 He is immobile both in and out of the pocket.
      I am hoping that just Lance’s mobility will take us one step further than Jimmy has. Lastly we didn’t trade away 3 1st round picks, we traded away 2 picks and flipped one. We lost 2 picks one in 22 and one in 23.

      1. Apparently when you trade in your used vehicle for $15k credit towards a new one valued at $40k you walk away telling people you got that brand new car for just 25k!!

        All kidding aside it was a big investment, but Lance has all the tools to be that type of player. The question is really whether he will be able to put it together and hit that ceiling.

        I don’t think anyone would argue that the draft picks were a bit of an overreach, but that may have had to do with trying to position themselves ahead of other quarterback hungry teams more than valuing Lance at the spot, meaning that was the price you had to pay to get in the #3 slot. They may have not known right away who they were taking, but were comfortable with the quarterbacks available.

        Also, with respect to Jimmy G, you also have to consider he isn’t very good throwing outside the numbers. His quick release allows him to throw darts in short/intermediate routes across the middle, but it’s not really in his repertoire to be able to throw outside without considerable risk.

  6. Old Coach is respected. Let us hope you are right. Agree that Jimmy was not more than slightly above average. His leadership skills and no excuses approach were admirable. I continue to hope Trey will come through but I do not see his greatness. Greatness comes out early for the extraordinary ones. I worry trey, though mobile, is not accurate enough. Kyle may run the ball a great deal and protect Trey with short throws for the most part. Disappointing camp given all the expectations we had for trey.

    1. Sorry guys , one last word.
      JG won more than 70% of the games that he played.
      Not many Qb’s in that category ,puts him in good company.

      1. I believe that Shanahan tweaked the offense to fit JG’ inability to throw deep by drafting players like Kittle, Deebo and Aiyuk who have the ability to catch a short pass and pick up substantial YAC.
        This type of passing offense has served the 49ers well. But it also puts your WRs at risk by taking undo physical hits on short passes because the Safeties play closer to the LOS.

        Lance could just throw 3-4 deep passes per game. This will force the Safeties to play further back and allow any WR catching a short pass the opportunity to face less defensive traffic.
        I’m stoked to see what the offensive wizard Shanahan rolls out in a month. It can be very exciting.

        1. AES – you have been around for a good many years watching the Niners. Wasn’t the short passing game the bread and butter of multiple championships? Montana was not known for his long throws such as Marino and Elway were…it was that system of short passes that invented the stat of YAC. It should be even more effective in this day and age since the defenses have to treat the offense like china dolls.

          1. UC,
            Good to hear (read) from you.
            Yes, the intermediate pass was a staple in the the glory years.
            But, unlike JG, there was always a chance that Joe and especially Steve could run for positive yards.
            But there was the occasional deep pass that kept the defense off balance.

            I actually see a similar offense that will resemble the 49ers 80′ championship teams.
            Deebo, Aiyuk, Kittle and Jennings can take a short pass and make important YAC. And now, we have a QB who could run for positive yards if needed.
            It’s going to be an exciting new season, UC!

      2. Hack is right. I do appreciate JG. I think people forget how hurting he was in that LA game. He still almost won it.

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