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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Balancing Garoppolo and Lance may be a challenge for the 49ers

Sep 11, 2021 at 3:56 PM


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On March 26, 2021, the 49ers traded three first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up to the third-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Most knew trading to that spot meant the 49ers would be taking a quarterback.

Since that point, the talk and debate over 49ers' quarterbacks has been constant. That increased even further after the 49ers did the expected and took a quarterback with the third-overall pick, Trey Lance.

Fast forward to Week 1 of the regular season, and not much has changed. Jimmy Garoppolo will be returning as the starter, but there are indications that the 49ers may be implementing a two-quarterback system in some form, which is something you do not see very often in the NFL.

There is the potential for both Garoppolo and Lance to take snaps at any given point. Garoppolo is known as being more of a "traditional-style" quarterback, and Lance the "playmaker" who has a big arm and running-back type speed. The combination of both of them may sound exciting on the surface but brings along many intriguing questions.

Questions like: When exactly do you substitute Lance in? Will the play calling, and changes affect one or both quarterbacks? Will the 49ers be able to get plays and communication in on time? And finally, will this work?

These questions lead back to how Kyle Shanahan maneuvers what could either be a game-changing dynamic or a potential dilemma that hampers the 49ers throughout the 2022 season. The fact that Shanahan, one of the NFL's best offensive minds, will be navigating this situation is a noted plus.

The in-game adjustments and the added layer of Shanahan incorporating two quarterbacks during a game will be fascinating to watch. Many have made the Drew Brees/Taysom Hill comparison as to what a Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance combination could look like. Week 3 of the preseason against the Las Vegas Raiders gave us an idea of what could be in store.

Jimmy Garoppolo started the preseason finale and Trey Lance was incorporated into those drives, with both quarterbacks rotating in-and-out at any given moment. Shanahan said after the game that this type of rotation may not be exactly how the process looks in the regular season, but no one really knows at this point.

If Shanahan can pull this off and is able to manage the strengths of both quarterbacks while putting them in the best position to succeed, the 49ers' offense could be dangerous. If not, the 49ers may end up losing more games than they should, with many likely to point out the unorthodox quarterback approach as the main culprit.

The quarterback situation and how it all plays out could be significant to the entire 2021 season. All eyes may be pointed in that direction starting from the 49ers' Week 1 match-up against the Detroit Lions, as Trey Lance is expected to be active for the game. How things go between Garoppolo and Lance tomorrow could provide an early indication of what is to come for the rest of the season.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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