San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance enters his first NFL training camp as a starter with plenty of questions regarding whether or not he’s ready to be a star. While it’s still the earliest days of camp, there is already buzz surrounding the second-year passer.
The 49ers officially moved into the Lance era before camp began, naming him the starting quarterback and essentially the face of the franchise. While Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster, he won’t be practicing for the time being and that has shifted the spotlight entirely on Lance this summer.
All of this comes after a rookie season that saw Lance rarely take the field. Even after San Francsico traded three first-round picks to select the 6-foot-4 quarterback No. 3 overall, it largely used the 2021 season as a redshirt year.
- Trey Lance stats (2021): 603 passing yards, 5-3 TD-INT ratio, 168 rushing yards
It would seemingly make things even more challenging for Lance. He only played a single game during his final collegiate season at North Dakota State, essentially a scrimmage game during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of that, he lasted attempted 80-plus passes in 2019.
Despite being nearly two years removed from playing meaningful football, it appears there is no rust in Lance’s game right now. Marcus Thompson came away immediately impressed by the 49ers’ quarterback after practice, both noting his physical talent and the intangibles he showed.
Keep in mind that this came after a practice that saw Shanahan arguably ease the young quarterback into things. San Francisco didn’t ask him to truly showcase his arm strength, which is far superior to anything the team had with Garoppolo under center.
Matt Barrows of The Athletic also came away impressed with Lance’s efforts on the field, noting the command the young quarterback showed in drills and his ability to use the right touch on short throws.
“As was the case through most of the spring, Lance looked like he was in control during his 11-on-11 repetitions but mostly stuck to short passes, especially to tight ends. Early on, he faked a handoff to running back Jeff Wilson Jr., rolled to his right and picked up a nice gain with his legs.”Matt Barrows on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance’s first day of training camp (The Athletic)
Of course, performing well in practice doesn’t guarantee success in live action against NFL competition. This is all just part of a long process for Lance and his rookie season showed that he will make bad decisions, both as a rusher and passer.
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However, it’s the upside he brings to the table that can really make the 49ers’ offense far better than we’ve seen in the past and certainly makes this club a Super Bowl contender if Lance starts approaching his ceiling.