By Michael Nowels
Trey Lance’s 2022 debut went as smoothly as could be expected. The 49ers’ starting quarterback threw a long touchdown pass and made it through the preseason opener Friday night against the Packers without injury.
The 49ers won, but that was immaterial.
On Monday morning, the national fascination kicked into another gear.
NBC columnist Peter King led his weekly roundup with Lance after speaking Sunday with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan conceded that despite his decision to go with Lance entering this season, the second-year quarterback “shouldn’t be” ready to start in the NFL yet, given that he has fewer than 400 pass attempts to his name since high school.
“[W]hat sucks is when you’re learning how to play and you’re not there yet,” Shanahan told King, “how do you not get worse sometimes when that pressure’s on you and you need to go through the growing pains?”
Speaking of not being ready, King noted that he’d heard that Jimmy Garoppolo — who has been working out during camp at the 49ers’ facility but away from the team — didn’t even have a 49ers playbook, though King did not specify where that tidbit came from.
That surely indicates the 49ers plan to cut Garoppolo, the starter since 2017, if they can’t find a suitor by either Aug. 30 (53-man cutdown day) or Sept. 10 (Garoppolo’s Week 1 roster bonus deadline). If the 49ers were even remotely considering using Garoppolo as a backup to Lance, it sure seems like they’d give him a copy of the plays they want him to run. It’s not all that surprising, considering that the 49ers signaled repeatedly in the offseason that they were moving on from Garoppolo, and he was not on the field or the sidelines Friday night at Levi’s Stadium.
Meanwhile, Lance was listed as the top 2022 breakout candidate in the NFL by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, who argued the 22-year-old quarterback is the lone player who has the potential to go from the bench to an MVP-caliber season.
Lance adds threats in terms of mobility and arm strength that Garoppolo simply did not have, by no fault of his own. Barnwell pointed to Lance’s propensity to throw downfield over a small sample size last season (13 of his 71 passes were at least 20 yards downfield) as a differentiator that could open up Shanahan’s offense, in addition to his ability to evade defensive ends on bootlegs, enabling him to run or pass for huge gains.
“Lance unlocks elements of the offense that simply weren’t possible in years past and makes life easier for everyone else on the field,” Barnwell wrote. “He gets to play with the league’s best left tackle and the third-best set of playmakers in football heading into the season. Lance is about to have a special season.”
With nearly four weeks left before the 49ers open the regular season in Chicago, there’s plenty of time for others to hop on the Lance bandwagon. Buckle up, Faithful.
Source: Paradise Post