49ers’ Trey Lance looks wise beyond his years as new era begins vs. Packers

49ers’ Trey Lance looks wise beyond his years as new era begins vs. Packers

By Jerry Mcdonald

SANTA CLARA — It was on his second snap in his role as the now and future 49ers’ starting quarterback where Trey Lance displayed the kind of maturity and common sense he’ll need in beginning a new era with the most quarterback-centric franchise on earth.

Second-and-8 from the 49ers’ 43-yard line, Lance sees a hole behind left guard Aaron Banks and darts upfield. Then Lance did something foreign to his nature. He slid, coming up a yard short of a first down but bringing up third-and-1, which Trey Sermon converted with a 3-yard gain.

“I got down. That’s the first time sliding in my whole entire life,” Lance said Friday night after the 49ers’ beat the Green Bay Packers 28-21 in their preseason opener at Levi’s Stadium. “That was good. The guys were happy. I might have gone one more step, but was happy to move the chains.”

Lance played just two series and he’s got a long way to go. But the 11 snaps were encouraging and included a 76-yard touchdown strike to speedy third-round draft pick Danny Gray on third-and-9. It was a perfect rainbow to the fastest receiver on the roster, with late-arriving safety Dallin Leavitt, formerly of the Raiders, trailing in helpless pursuit.

It’s the play everyone will remember, but for the long haul, Lance’s slide and the way he conducted himself after the game served as evidence that this is not your typical 22-year-old. Lance has a maturity that may match his considerable athletic skills, and the former, combined with the latter, could mean big things for the 49ers this season.

As it was, Lance was 4 of 5 for 92 yards. He took a 4-yard sack and had no rushes other than the 7-yard run. It was a microscopic sample size, but it’s sure to alleviate whatever concern exists among the fan base.

“Seemed solid. The first play, made a good scramble, a nice third-down play to Danny,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Did some good things. Wish we could have kept him out there more but we had to get him out.”

Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy both had their moments as well for the 49ers, but let’s face it:iIf Sudfeld or Purdy are on the field for an extended period of time, the 49ers go from a serious Super Bowl contender to a team fighting to get to past 9-8 and make the playoffs. Similar to last year under Jimmy Garoppolo.

This is why Lance, who ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards in his first start last October subbing for Garoppolo, seemed as pleased with his slide as anything else he did. He’s 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, but gaining 1,000 yards on the ground this year would not be the wisest plan for the 49ers.

“I could hear the whole sideline saying, `Get down!,’ ” Lance said. “Obviously I’m in a different position now. Just trying to take care of myself and I know that me being available and me not being available is a big deal for our team.”

Lance rushed the ball 192 times for 1,325 yards and 18 touchdowns in 19 games at North Dakota State, but said, said of sliding, “You watch films of all my games. I never did.”

Has he been practicing sliding?

“No. I thought about practicing it,” Lance said. “Kind of pictured it in my head.”

When pressed, Lance said he may have slid a time or two in high school, but not in football.

Trey Lance greets Nate Sudfeld (7) after the 49ers’ backup quarterback threw a 39-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to Ray-Ray McCleod.

“I played baseball but I can count on one hand the number of times I slid in a baseball game,” Lance said.

In terms of media presence, Lance at a young age knows how to talk up his teammates and stress the team above individual accomplishments. Close your eyes and you may as well be listening to Garoppolo, who from seldom was heard a discouraging word.

Lance raced down the sideline after the touchdown pass to Gray to make sure the rookie didn’t “punt the ball into the stands.” He wanted Gray to have the football from his first touchdown as a memento. He was quick to greet Sudfeld after the quarterback threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud. Then he retrieved the first scoring pass from Purdy and gave it to him.

As reporters have chronicled some of his accuracy issues on daily basis, Lance has never looked angry or frustrated, adjusting to the highs and lows of daily practices with aplomb. He’s been facing a defense that could be one of the NFL’s best and has the perspective to understand that’s a good thing.

“In training camp we try to take it one day at a time against our defense,” Lance said. “There are good days and bad days but they make us better and I think that showed today.”

Source: Paradise Post

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