Trey Lance is the prototypical quarterback for the offense run by Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers.
He can run, throw, and confuse defenses in a read-option situation.
Jimmy Garoppolo does not fit that bill and that helps explain why the 49ers used a No. 3 overall pick on Lance.
The debate now is who deserves to be the Week 1 starter?
A shortened preseason and the fact Lance has barely played in a game over the past year points toward Garoppolo holding down the job for now.
But Shanahan has made it clear fans will see Lance on the field in some capacity throughout the year when he isn’t the starter.
#49ers HC Kyle Shanahan on QB Trey Lance. “He’s going to play for us this year.”
Shanahan makes clear they are preparing Lance to play at least situationally. Anything beyond that is to be determined at this point.
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) August 6, 2021
This is not surprising news, but remains interesting.
Getting Lance On The Field
Shanahan has had some interesting talents to work with throughout his career.
In 2012 he had Robert Griffin III in Washington.
The offense run there may ultimately be what he tries to emulate now with Lance as the starter.
But the initial plan seems to be easing the rookie into action and not overwhelming him with running the entire offense.
He will have a specific set of plays to run and the team can go from there.
Some fans may be worried that Shanahan will put Lance on the field for only run plays, putting the rookie at risk for injuries.
That may just be what the 49ers want opponents to think, however, because we know Lance has a huge arm.
Trey Lance DIME to Brandon Aiyuk 🎯
— PFF (@PFF) August 3, 2021
Putting Lance in the read-option as a rookie is going to have opposing defenses clueless.
The Starter Conversation
There is obviously a ton of hype surrounding Lance after he was taken with such a high draft pick.
But this remains Garoppolo’s team for now.
The veteran dealt with injuries in 2020 after leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl during the 2019 season.
One complaint against him was the running game carrying the team that postseason.
But is that a bad thing?
The 49ers were a defensive collapse away from winning a Super Bowl and Garoppolo took most of the blame because of a missed pass, by inches, late in the game.
He deserves another chance in 2021 to prove he can lead a winning team.
The veteran starting is also good for Lance.
The rookie played one game in 2020 and while he is looking good at camp, that is totally different than a live NFL game.
We should point out, however, Lance looking great in shorts is notable because that is not true for all young quarterbacks.
Right now in the Bay Area the 49ers are in a great spot.
They have a veteran in Garoppolo who is an above-average option.
If he falters, a dynamic top rookie is ready to step in.
Using Lance in special packages to start the year may only be delaying the inevitable.