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San Francisco 49ers legend Steve Young on Trey Lance as starting QB: ‘It is a nearly impossible job’

Vincent Frank

The Trey Lance era will officially begin with the San Francisco 49ers a week from Sunday when the young quarterback leads his team into Chicago to take on the Bears.

San Francisco has been prepping Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, for this over the past several months. And despite the return of veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, this is Lance’s team.

When Lance takes his first snap inside Soldier Field, he’ll become the youngest quarterback to start a season opener in the history of the 49ers’ franchise. He’ll also be doing so for a team that earned a spot in the NFC Championship Game a season ago and has realistic Super Bowl expectations. No pressure.

In talking about the Lance era starting, 49ers legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young sounded an alarm in a big way.

“It’s the most difficult, it’s beyond. It’s not otherworldly, because you can do it, but it is a nearly impossible job. Let’s be honest about it, and it’s been proven by the number of people who have been able to do it effectively. You can count on two hands in the last 10 years. This is a nearly impossible job in a nearly impossible city to do it, and that’s a fact.”

Steve Young on Trey lance, via NBC Sports bay Area

Young isn’t talking about Lance from a micrco perspective. This isn’t a knock on the 22-year-old signal caller. Rather, it’s all about the pressure that comes with being a San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback.

Related: San Francisco 49ers standing in Sportsnaut’s updated NFL power rankings

Steve Young’s experience gives him first-hand knowledge of the Trey Lance situation

san francisco 49ers qb trey lance
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 1991, Young took over for an injured Joe Montana as San Francisco’s starting quarterback after sitting behind the four-time Super Bowl champion for the previous four seasons. The pressure was squarely on Young as he was tasked to replace the greatest 49ers quarterback of all-time. It wasn’t until the 1994 season that Young led San Francisco to a Super Bowl title, pulling the proverbial monkey off his back in the process.

Fast forward 28 years, and San Francisco has failed to reach the mountaintop since. The team is coming off a brutal NFC Championship Game loss to the division-rival Los Angeles Rams and is a couple years removed from blowing a double-digit fourth quarter lead against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. The backdrop here is Garoppolo’s return to the 49ers after it seemed inevitable that he would be traded or released. Young also spoke on that dynamic.

“If I’m Jimmy, I just got punched in the face. I’m 34-14, been to the Super Bowl and two (NFC) championship games and was just told by the league, now people say the timing, the shoulder — this is the quarterback world. If you are a starting quarterback, you would have found a job. So you’ve got to do something to change the narrative, and maybe somebody gets hurt and then there’s a market.”

steve Young on Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance dynamic

Lance is seen as extremely talented with a certain rawness to his game. Things could be amplified from a pressure perspective should he struggle early in the season with Garoppolo as QB2 in San Francisco.

It will certainly be interesting to see what comes of this given all the question marks surrounding Trey Lance and the fact that Garoppolo has led San francisco to two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl over the past three seasons.