Why “splitting reps” with Sam Darnold won’t affect Trey Lance’s development

Credit: Terrell Lloyd/49ers

Ever since Kyle Shanahan said he expects Trey Lance and Sam Darnold to both get reps with the first team during OTA’s there have been questions and concerns about the impact on the development of Lance. Some have gone as far as to say a competition would take snaps away from Lance.

The reality is Lance’s development won’t be affected and he won’t lose any snaps unless he falls to number three on the depth chart.

Let’s cover the snaps first.

During offseason practices and training camp the starting group and backup group take the same number of snaps unless they’re in a move the ball period while the third unit takes half.

The number of snaps taken in move the ball periods can fluctuate depending on how efficiently the quarterback and offense do just that, move the ball.

Naturally the next question is, “isn’t taking away some of the first team snaps bad then?”

The answer is simply, no. Nothing changes. The coaches continue putting in the same effort, in fact Kyle Shanahan has stated many times he is more concerned with the process of the quarterback going to the correct spot than the result of the play during practice.

The reality is the offensive line and quarterbacks are the only groups that don’t rotate between the first, second and third teams.

For example, a highlight of training camp last year came when rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, playing with the third group as he did throughout camp, hit Brandon Aiyuk deep down the left sideline in stride for a would-be touchdown. Lance had several of the same occurrences while working with the second group in 2021 as well.

It boils down to how each player performs. Darnold and Lance both have exceptional traits which is why they were the third player chosen in their respective draft class.

May the best player win.

Other quarterback news

According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero the 49ers are signing veteran quarterback Brandon Allen.

After passing on quarterback in the draft the only healthy options for San Francisco as on-field activities ramp up were Lance and Darnold. The 49ers prefer to have three quarterbacks during this time of the year.

Originally selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Allen spent his rookie season third on the depth chart. He was released late in training camp the following season before hooking on with Los Angeles. Allen spent 2017 and 2018 third on the Rams depth chart.

In 2019, Allen signed with Denver where he served as the backup to Joe Flacco. Allen made his NFL debut with the Broncos, starting three games.

Allen then signed with Cincinnati where he spent three seasons as the backup to Joe Burrow.

For his career Allen has played in 15 games and posted a 2-7 record in nine starts. He has completed 56.7 percent of his passes with ten touchdowns and six interceptions.

This article has 25 Comments

  1. So the only Q that remains is when and how is the 3rd QB determined? If Brock is back on time, don’t we want to see who’s on second? (no pun intended)

  2. I don’t care who looks better although as far as trade value goes it would be better if Lance shines. I am rooting for either Lance or Darnold to get hot early and just kill it in the preseason. Then Purdy returns at 100% and looks as good as last year. Then before the 24 draft they make a blockbuster trade (for either I don’t care) and the 49ers have a draft like the 23 Eagles or Seahawks and keep their SB window open for at least 3 more years. It would be perfect if #3 who ever he is looks solid too giving them a solid #2 for 24.

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  4. It’s OTAs. Snaps are definitely important but as long as you maximize reps I really don’t think it matters if you’re going with 1s or 2s. During the year, many of those 2s will be on the field during games. I’m actually pretty excited about Darnold. I don’t think he’s going to start but with some experience in this system he might be good. He got beat up pretty bad in New York and Carolina so sitting on the bench while getting reps in practices is a good reset for him. In my opinion, Darnold is the most physically gifted QB on the roster. Darnold is slightly smaller than Lance but he’s slightly faster than Lance. Similar in athleticism to Lance but a far more accurate passer. Very small sample size so it’s hard to compare but Lance has a 55% completion rate while Darnold has a 67% completion rate. After some time in this offense, I’m really looking forward to what Darnold can do.

  5. Three years hence, when Kyle Michael Shanahan in his 10th season as 49ers coach has yet
    to close the deal and win a Super Bowl, what will the Yorks, especially smug Jed, do if anything
    at all? And what will Felix and so many others on this blog have to say? Admit it. Have a road to
    Damascus moment. It’s never going to happen with the blunderbuss KS. He always will find a
    way to muck things up, just as he did in the NFC Championship last year and more recently in
    picking a kicker in the 3rd round instead of a sorely needed offensive lineman.

    1. What are you going to say when the Niners under Shanahan do win a Super Bowl? Do you like Crow?

    2. Jed York will say- ” we are in it every year, came close 8 out of 10 years now……soon we will get over the hump!”

      serious Q to all- would you rather win the SB one time in a decade, but the other 9 years are miserable?
      Or be in the final 8 every year for a decade…….with the exception of 1 miserable year?

      1. This clown clearly dosent get sports lol. championships are fun, great measuring stick for franchises…….but after winning it, the initial thrill and gratification…….they ALMOST become meaningless. Its the thrill of competing year in and year out

        Another way of putting it…..whtr has more value- the plastic trophy’s i have …….or the memories of little leage and HS football?
        for me, its BY FAR THE MEMORIES !

  6. From NFL Draft, 21 sets of draft grades from NFL experts around the Internet.

    Lowest Draft Grades
    32. San Francisco 49ers

    GPA: 1.79
    Highest Grade: B+ (Gosling)
    Lowest Grade: F (Dunleavy, Dvorchak, Nystrom)

    Our evaluators only gave out five F grades, and the 49ers got three of them. San Francisco’s paucity of draft capital (they gave up their original first-, second-, third-, fourth-, and sixth-round picks in trades for Trey Lance, Christian McCaffrey, and Charles Omenihu) complicated things, though they gained back a bundle of compensatory picks. But the issue is not the picks the 49ers lost; it’s what they did with those picks that remained.

    “The 49ers failed this draft because they did poorly in the nine non-premium slots they were selecting in,” Nystrom wrote. “We saw a procession of reaches. … This felt like a myopic process, where every pick is a luxury pick and nothing is at stake. Perhaps the 49ers have entered the pre-Rams-Super-Bowl ‘f*** them picks’ phase of their evolution.”

    Dvorchak criticized the decision to trade up for Penn State defensive back Ji’Ayir Brown, a questionable move for a team that had little draft capital to begin with. But the (ahem) kicker was San Francisco’s second selection: Michigan placekicker Jake Moody at 99th overall. “Moody is the best kicker in the draft, but the 49ers opted for a low-impact position far too early,” he wrote. “The NFL has placed an extremely low value on kickers in the draft and San Francisco doesn’t have a roster so pristine that they can afford to take a luxury pick.” Dunleavy pointed out that Moody was the highest-drafted kicker since Roberto Aguayo … who was cut after just one season in Tampa Bay and never played in the NFL again.

    Dunleavy gave the 49ers a D, saying that “Kyle Shanahan himself admitted he got made fun of by his friends in the coaching ranks, and would have returned the favor to anyone else who had [drafted a kicker in the third round]. He gets the same treatment from us.”

    “Jake Moody should have been depth at receiver or on the interior offensive line, two units the 49ers didn’t bother addressing, even with all of their Day 3 picks,” wrote Tanier, who gave San Francisco a D+. Even some of the kinder graders questioned the 49ers’ game plan; Phillips gave them a C-, but noted that “spending the first few picks on a safety and a kicker isn’t great roster building, particularly after the 49ers failed to draft a single offensive lineman in a year they could use help at the position.”

    1. OOOOOHHHH, a bunch of slappys i never heard of, i mean at all! EVER! Say we had a bad draft…….only guys that dont know $H!t…….have to scour the internet to “find” an opinion!!! lmao

    2. 49ersunder,
      That sure is a lot of blowing bad smoke for a team that has been contending for a SB the last few years.
      Fire them ASAP! lol.

      1. Maybe Dennis Erikcson, M. Nolan, M. Singletary or J. Tomsula will be available to Coach.

    3. Opinions..event those from ‘experts’..are like ass—s, everybody has one..

    4. So how did the “expert” Dunleavy grade the nines last year for the Purdy pick???

  7. Jack you have to get rid of all those spammers or soon they will run the site!
    More spam than posts right now…

  8. Jack,
    Are the current OTAs open to the press? If they are, are you attending?

  9. pat!!!! where do you get your stats!!!!? 59.7……… that is Darnold’s comp. %……..%59.7

    If he actually had the %67 as you say…….i assure you…..he would have won the rookie of the year award, a play off game at least…….still be starting for the Jets…….and on a very short list of the best young qbs in the league

  10. Jack.
    It might be time for your IT team to filter out these advertisers on the blog.
    Thank you

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