Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Campbell’s admission reveals how Trey Lance is impacting Lions’ prep work for 49ers

Sep 9, 2021 at 9:55 AM--

If the San Francisco 49ers had not drafted Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick, the Detroit Lions probably wouldn't be too worried about whoever was backing up Jimmy Garoppolo, assuming Garoppolo remained with the team. Instead, the Lions would be focused on stopping the veteran quarterback and him alone. There wouldn't be many thoughts about Nate Sudfeld or whoever sits behind him on the depth chart.

The Niners did draft Lance, though. Then head coach Kyle Shanahan showed off an unorthodox game plan in the team's preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, swapping between Garoppolo and Lance in the middle of drives. Maybe it was just to give Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell something to think about as he prepared for his Week 1 matchup against the 49ers. If that was the intent, it worked.

We don't even know if Lance will be suited up for the game. The rookie quarterback chipped a bone in his finger against the Raiders. He was limited during Wednesday's practice. Still, the Lions are devoting time to plan for Lance, the more athletic of the 49ers' two quarterbacks.

"I'm well aware of all of the games people play," Campbell said via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press (h/t to Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk).

Campbell, a former NFL tight end, has seen the trickery teams can play with the media. Remember, reporters watch warmups and individual drills during the week. However, once team drills start, they have to leave, preventing them from reporting on anything that occurs during that portion of practice.

"It's very easy to sit a guy out, and then when all of you leave, the media leaves, he's out there," Campbell continued. "I've been around where a guy had a neck brace on, and then everybody left, and then he throws it off, and he's out there at practice.

"So, I'm well aware of those things. We have to prepare like he's playing. We'll have a plan for him, and we'll be ready."

The fact that the Lions are spending time this week preparing for a backup quarterback has to be seen as a win in Shanahan's eyes. And maybe that was the point of switching between Garoppolo and Lance during the preseason. When you are less likely to show off any regular-season plans, Shanahan offered up a head-scratcher.

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