The quarterback situation is one of the most prominent questions hanging over the San Francisco 49ers as they head into 2022. Many point to Trey Lance taking over as part of their reasoning for expecting the 49ers to have a down season and miss out on the playoffs.
On Monday, former 49ers quarterback Steve Young was a guest on the Rich Eisen Show. Eisen pointed out to the Hall of Famer how many say the 49ers are keeping Jimmy Garoppolo because the team is hedging their bet, or San Francisco won’t be good because Lance isn’t ready.
“The word ready is just loaded. It’s not right,” responded Young. “He’s played two games so, “oh he’s not ready” doesn’t mean anything. When someone says he’s not ready, well it’s easy to say because he hasn’t done it. The more important thing is, is he capable of the on-field recognition of routes, getting through the routes, who’s open, anticipatory throwing, getting the ball out. It seems like he has that. The that you worry about the most about being ready, I feel like he has.
“Now, what I do worry about is the sense of accuracy. The sense that I know my brain knows where to go with the ball, but my arm is not necessarily cooperating.
“To me, that’s the issue that I really want to focus on this summer and as he gets into the Fall playing. I do believe he has the ability to find the open guys, the processing power that you worry about, he has that. But can his arm do the work. You either have that or you don’t.”
Lance has made only three starts since leading North Dakota State to the FCS Championship in 2019. Two of those starts came in his rookie year with the 49ers, and we saw Lance go through the ups and downs you’d expect from a young quarterback.
Early against Arizona and Houston, Lance struggled with his accuracy and seeing the field. The lack of accuracy led to an interception on the first possession in Arizona. Not seeing the field well against Houston caused Lance to bail out of the pocket instead of delivering the ball to open receivers.
The positive takeaway from those contests was how Lance improved as the game wore on. Against Houston, we saw Lance make the necessary adjustments, and from late in the second quarter on, the rookie was letting it rip. Lance led the 49ers to points during a two-minute drive to end the first half and 20 in the second half to help keep San Francisco’s playoff hopes alive.
Are the 49ers hedging their bet? Do they feel like Trey Lance is ready?
“That’s why we looked into trading Jimmy,” Kyle Shanahan told reporters during the NFL owner’s meetings in late March. “We obviously believe Trey can be the starter, and we are ready to do that.”