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San Francisco 49ers’ Trey Lance pushes back against media narrative that he’s not ready

Vincent Frank

It’s been a huge question during the San Francisco 49ers’ offseason. Is young quarterback Trey Lance ready to take over for Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s starting quarterback.

Selected No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft after San Francisco pulled off a blockbuster pre-draft trade, it always seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Lance would take over as a sophomore.

The current situation relating to Garoppolo complicates things further in this regard. He underwent shoulder surgery earlier in the offseason, preventing San Francisco from trading the high-priced Super Bowl quarterback.

All the while, there’s this narrative around the media world that Lance is not ready to step into a starting role for a championship contender. In speaking to the media during San Francisco’s OTAs, Lance pushed back against the media in a respectful manner.

“In the most respectful way possible, it doesn’t change how I feel about you guys as people, but it’s not my job to care what you guys say or anyone else on social media. For me, I care about what the guys in the locker room think and what my coaching staff thinks.”

49ers’ Trey Lance to the media, via ESPN

To be fair, none of this is coming from the 49ers’ organization itself. Rather, it’s the idea that Lance just doesn’t have the experience to take on a starting role at this stage in his career.

Lance, 22, threw all of 71 passes as a rookie. As for his college career at the small-school North Dakota State, Lance threw 30 passes in his final season before opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s thrown all of 101 passes since the end of the 2019 season, college and the NFL included.

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Trey Lance as a viable stating quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers

san francisco 49ers' trey lance
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

“One play Trey—two out of ten. And only because I’m trying to be somewhat nice. Trey Lance, from everything I’ve heard from people within the locker room, people outside the locker room, he just ain’t it. There’s a reason they call him ‘One-play Trey,’ and there’s a reason he only started (two games) last year … because he’s just not like that.”

Former NFL player Emmanuel Acho on Trey Lance

An argument can be made that Lance started two games a season ago because the 49ers were in contention for a playoff spot and boasted a quarterback in Garoppolo who had led them to the Super Bowl two seasons prior. The idea was never to start Lance out of the gate. When on the field, he played pretty well in limited action.

There’s certainly some concern over accuracy and Lance’s ability to progress through his reads. Though, those are the same questions most quarterbacks his age face.

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Let’s put this into perspective for a second. Lance just turned 22 in May. He’s younger than fellow 2021 NFL Draft picks Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson. In fact, Lance is more than a year younger than the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kenny Pickett.

Despite all of this noise, it’s going to be all about what we see from Trey Lance during the preseason and to open the regular year. He’s going to be the Week 1 starting quarterback. There will be growing pains. It’s now up to him to ignore this white noise. He seems to be doing a good job of that right now.

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