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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Lance’s attitude made 49ers’ QB situation ‘a lot easier’ for Jimmy Garoppolo

Aug 5, 2021 at 9:36 AM--

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"We like you, but we're going to bring in your replacement" probably feels about the same as "It's not you, it's me." That's what the San Francisco 49ers have told their starting quarterback of the last three-and-a-half years, Jimmy Garoppolo. He's good enough to lead a stacked roster this season. The coaches will see how long he can stay on the field and how far he can take the team. However, the writing is on the wall.

San Francisco drafted Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick. It gave up a lot for him, too, surrendering multiple first-round picks and a third-rounder to get him. Lance is the quarterback of the future. It wasn't that long ago that Garoppolo felt the label belonged to him.

Soon after hearing his name called by Roger Goodell and learning that he was headed to the 49ers, Lance looked at his phone and saw a text from one of his newest teammates. It was Garoppolo welcoming him to the team. Many felt some awkwardness in the quarterback room between Garoppolo and Lance was unavoidable (think Favre and Rodgers). That wasn't the case, though.

By all accounts, Garoppolo and the rest of the team have welcomed Lance with open arms. He immediately became a part of the tight-knit locker room. Teammates have raved about the rookie quarterback, who is going through his first NFL training camp.

"He's a natural leader, a guy that can relate to everybody in the locker room," offensive tackle Trent Williams recently told Michael Silver of NFL Media. "You can tell he's always… learning. He's trying to perfect his craft. You see him on the field. He's growing. You see why he's the No. 3 pick overall. You see why everybody was kind of really, really high on him. You see why his ceiling is so high."

Williams is not the only one who sees it. Every 49ers player has praised Lance when asked about the rookie quarterback. Still, Garoppolo insists there is no awkwardness in the relationship between him and his eventual successor.

"Trey's a good dude, so it makes it a lot easier," Garoppolo told Silver this week. "If the guy would've come in and just acted different, entitled… it would make it tough. But he's been a good dude. We get along."

Garoppolo entered training camp as the projected starter for Week 1 and, if he can remain healthy, the rest of the season. Lance will serve as his backup, assuming nothing in the remaining practices and the preseason change that plan.

The quarterback room has changed a lot from a season ago. Garoppolo remains. Josh Rosen was there late last season. Newcomers Lance and Nate Sudfeld are in there now, too. Gone are Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. Yet, everyone insists the group of 49ers quarterbacks remain as close as previous rooms.

"Nate and Josh, we've got a good room all together," Garoppolo added. "I just try to make it be natural, let it come as it may, and we'll take it day by day."


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