Trey Lance should be given snaps with 49ers starters

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) drops back next to running back Josh Hokit (40) against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

On Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, Trey Lance made his NFL debut which also happened to be only his second football game since 2019. If there was any rust for Lance to knock off, it didn’t show. The rookie put his first NFL throw right between Brandon Aiyuk’s numbers but the receiver dropped it. Undeterred, Lance would make an even more impressive throw on his next attempt, hitting Trent Sherfield deep down the right side of the field for an 80-yard touchdown.

Lance’s performance in his NFL debut was a bit up and down which was to be expected, but there was no hiding his potential. And this was all without Kyle Shanahan utilizing the running ability of his young signal caller.

When head coach Shanahan met with the media on Sunday, he was asked what threshold Lance would need to surpass before Shanahan believes he needs to give the rookie quarterback more reps with the first team.

“I don’t know. I haven’t really defined that for myself either,” said  Shanahan. “Just when I think it feels right, and when he seems ready when I think the team seems ready.”

Let me help Shanahan out here. Lance is ready and the team is ready. In fact, Shanahan owes it to his team to give Lance the same number of reps with the starting offensive line as he is giving to Jimmy Garoppolo. Lance has earned it.

While watching Lance during training camp it became clear that he can do everything that Garoppolo can do in the 49ers offense as a passer. Lance has shown the ability to hit the checkdowns underneath to running backs and tight ends or the underneath crossing routes to wide receivers that Garoppolo thrives on.

Where Lance separates himself from Garoppolo is his willingness to push the ball down the field, and his ability to produce big plays with his legs.

While Shanahan chose to keep the running of Lance under wraps on Saturday night, the differences between the two quarterbacks were on full display. Garoppolo threw the ball four times during his one series of action, those four throws traveling a total of five yards past the line of scrimmage. On Lance’s first play in the NFL, his throw to Aiyuk traveled 15 yards down field. His next throw, 37 yards to Sherfield. This continued while Lance was on the field throughout the first half and into the third quarter.

While Lance is definitely going to push the ball downfield more often, getting him onto the field with the starting offensive line is all about continuing his development.

The 49ers second-team offensive line struggled to protect Lance on Saturday, resulting in three sacks and a number of hits on the quarterback. By keeping the starting offensive line on the field for a longer period with Lance, Shanahan will give the quarterback the opportunity to better see the field without being forced to play under duress. Even with the pressure up front, Lance has shown that he can make plays. He’s dominated the 49ers’ second-team defense on a regular basis during training camp practices.

Lance has been given a number of opportunities to work with the 49ers starting skill position players and Shanahan has already gone on record that Lance will definitely be playing this season. Moving that process forward and allowing Lance to get the same number of reps as Garoppolo with the starting offensive line will help get him ready for those situations and doesn’t have any negatives. If Lance struggles, these early reps will allow more time to iron out the wrinkles, and if he plays well the answer to the quarterback situation is there for everyone to see. 

This isn’t about naming Lance the starter, yet.

This article has 28 Comments

  1. Lets give Lance the benefit of the doubt and count the drops as completions that makes him 8-14. If you are going to count the drops you should also count the dropped int’s that makes him 8-14 1 TD 2 int’s and a lost fumble. Not very good. If JG had a performance like that the blog would be calling for his head. As I have stated before Lance is the future of this organization but lets take a chapter from the Andy Reid book and give him ample time to develop. Maybe not an entire season but how bout a half of a season. Lets get a real NFL football player at right guard before we put him out there versus starting NFL defenses. On a completely different subject I thought that Josh Hokit had a great game. I think we can relax and not worry if Juice gets hurt we will have a very competent backup FB on the P.S.

  2. Nah. No rush. Figure out the RG position while he integrates his mechanics to muscle memory. Jimmy Glass will go down at some point, and that’s when Lancelot will get his opportunity to lead the 49ers back to Camelot….

    1. The right guard spot is figured out. Banks won’t practice again this preseason, and he’s not ready.

      1. Ha! If it was figured out they wouldn’t have drafted him with the 48th pick. And you can take that to the Banks!

  3. Jack aren’t you at all concerned about the permanent damage that can happen to Lance if they force him into the QB1 before he is ready?

    It seems like there is more harm than good that can be done from rushing him into being the QB1 in the NFL after playing against weak opponents in 2019 and no one in 2020

  4. The only potential negative I see from this plan is if Lance isn’t ready, it takes snaps away from JG to get ready for the season. But if he is replacing those snaps he would miss with the first team with second team snaps, then probably no real issue.

    I definitely agree that getting Lance more snaps with the first team would help his development.

  5. Personally, I’m completely happy letting the one person who has the responsibilities, the training, and skills to make these decisions, make the decisions.

    1. Yes, no politics please. Besides, the debacle in Afghanistan didn’t start this week. It’s essentially 20 years worth of confused policy and corrupt Afghanistan “government”, in the making.

      Not only that …. the original sin was taking our eyes off of Iraq in order to invade Afghanistan in the first place. And when the orange guy made a deal with the Taliban, and signed off on our complete 8/30/2021 troop withdrawal, the new guy was left with a lose-lose choice – either escalate the resulting war again VS the Taliban, by bringing back in 10,000’s of US troops (which our 85% of Americans are firmly against) in order to delay the inevitable Taliban takeover, or let the Afghani government and military, 20 years in the making, control their own destiny.

      It was a lose-lose situation created by 20 years of bad foreign policy, and like most things political, there is plenty of blame to go around, so let’s stick to sports on this blog, please!

      1. In fact, Bush, Obama, and Trump all played a bigger role in the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, than anything Biden has done.

        So let’s keep it real, guys, and let’s stick to sports on this blog.

  6. BTW, Tim Tebow really is a perfect metaphor for American society in 2021!

    Tim Tebow was NEVER going to make it back to the NFL, 8 full years after leaving the sport! And Tim Tebow was certainly NEVER going to make his NFL comeback at Tight End, a position he’s never played before in his entire football career!

    Just like Tim Tebow was NEVER going to make it to the big leagues of MLB. He was simply never going to be able to hit Triple-A pitching, let alone MLB pitching!

    Yet, there has been a significant segment of our population, some even among those who understood the extreme difficulty facing Tebow, who either don’t use their critical thinking ability, and/or simply choose to accept their own reality of the situation (regardless of the critical facts) because the “idea” of Tim Tebow, the “fake news” version of Tim Tebow, fits their own personal bias.

    1. I thought you said no more politics. Do you really think we are that stupid we can’t see what you’re doing. “Come on man”

    1. Good for him. And most importantly, good for the team. It sounds like he gained some wisdom. Though he may have lost a girlfriend

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