Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Trent Williams on board with 49ers adding QB Trey Lance, doesn’t think there will be a QB controversy

Jul 27, 2021 at 4:55 PM--


49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams has been around the NFL for over a decade, which means he fully understands just how harsh of a business the league can be.

For that reason, Williams has no problem with the 49ers' decision to add rookie quarterback Trey Lance even though they already have a proven veteran in Jimmy Garoppolo, and he doesn't seem to think there will be any controversy as a result.

Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019 and carries a 22-8 overall record since joining the team in 2017. But he's also missed the bulk of two seasons due to injuries, has a contract with a hefty amount of non-guaranteed money over the next two seasons, and doesn't have the type of multi-dimensional weaponry that is commonly seen in some of the top young quarterbacks across the league. So the 49ers decided to rectify those issues by adding Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft, and as a result, the quarterback position will undoubtedly be one of the most talked-about storylines surrounding the team in the weeks and months ahead.

But while there may be a good amount of discussion and speculation on the subject outside of the 49ers' locker room, chances are the players will be ready to roll with whatever decision head coach Kyle Shanahan makes. At least Williams believes that to be the situation.

"I don't think there's any type of competition/controversy type of deal," Williams told reporters during a media session on Tuesday. "I think we just bolstered up the roster, got deeper at the position, and we got a guy with a huge ceiling. When it's his time to play I think we'll all see what he has to offer."

Williams doesn't blame the 49ers for making the decision they made given the combination of running ability and arm strength that Lance brings to the table. Lance can eventually give the 49ers the same offensive options as other teams with similar quarterbacks, and for the time being, he and Garoppolo can provide the 49ers a level of depth they haven't had at the position in recent seasons.

"When you look at the trend around the league, I think everybody wants that two-quarterback system or wants to have a quarterback with the potential and the talent and the ceiling that a guy like Trey has," Williams said. "When you can get that, you don't pass up on that. That's not saying Jimmy isn't proven. That's not saying that Jimmy can't win. I think Jimmy is the quarterback here and will be until told otherwise. Jimmy's gotten his team to the Super Bowl. He has an outstanding winning percentage when you look at him as a starting quarterback. So I don't look at it as 'quarterback situation.' I look at it as when you're up towards that first round and you don't have any glaring needs, why wouldn't you add one of the best players in the draft if you can do so?"

Williams added, "I think it makes the whole team better. Trey is an outstanding talent. I think he's going to take the league by storm when he's ready. We're in a win-win situation. As long as Jimmy's out there, we know what he can do. When the time comes and it's Trey's turn, I think we all kind of expect him to do a certain job, and I think he's very capable of doing so. So I don't look at it as a 'quarterback situation.' I just look at it as that's the way football is."

Williams had experience with a rookie quarterback when he played with Robert Griffin III in Washington during the 2012 season. Griffin was a first-round pick of Washington that season and made a big splash as a rookie with Shanahan as the team's offensive coordinator before suffering a knee injury. He doesn't see many similarities between Lance and Griffin but does think Lance will be in a good situation if called upon to play.

"I think the only similarities they have is they're both athletic -- him and RG," Williams said. "We'll see. I haven't really thought that far about it. Jimmy's the quarterback and he's a pocket quarterback, so I haven't really thought about switching the offense and how we had it in (2012). If something happens and Trey has to go in, I think that is a good, quarterback-friendly offense to start out in. It definitely simplifies things. Kyle's a smart coach to where he basically put you in a position where the play can only go one way, or he can X out so many factors just by his playcalling or his way he puts players in position. I do think that does help a young quarterback to get his feet wet, but I'm not saying he's going to be exactly what RGIII is or whatever. I think Trey Lance is going to be Trey Lance. You really can't put players in a box like that."

Williams respects how Garoppolo has dealt with everything to this point ("He's handled his situation probably the best I can imagine anybody handling it," Williams said) and applauds the grit Garoppolo showed last season while trying to play through injury ("He didn't have to press forward like he tried to and tried to play hurt, and the guys respect that"). But he doesn't second-guess the decision to add Lance, and he knows that at age 33, the time will come when the 49ers take a similar path with him.

"Eventually they'll draft a left tackle here," Williams said. "I'm not saying I'll (give up my spot) in the first year or the first two years, but that's reality of it. The reality of the team -- San Francisco is going to keep playing football long after I'm retired and was playing football well before I started. They've got to put themselves in a position to keep winning. They can't just get married to players. That's not the best way to go about it."





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