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Steve Young calls the 49ers QB situation ‘fraught with terror’

Marc Adams
Sep 16, 2021 at 3:02 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers are no strangers to quarterback controversies. There was a big one in the late 1980s that involved a couple of future Hall of Famers. That the team was able to replace one Hall of Fame quarterback, Joe Montana, with another, Steve Young, is remarkable. It set an extremely high standard in San Francisco.

Then there was the blistering hot quarterback controversy between Alex Smith and David...wait...never mind.

Montana and Young were great quarterbacks who coach Bill Walsh used to push each other. Montana made Young better. And Young certainly made Montana better. Former 49ers players have said as much, that Montana was even more focused with Young waiting in his shadow. Super Bowls XXIII and XXIV are proof of this.

So the team's current quarterback situation, which isn't technically a controversy yet, should be considered a positive thing, right? I mean, it is something that will only make the two players, Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, better. But it does also bring about some concern, especially within the mind of one the those Hall of Famers involved in the last quarterback controversy in San Francisco.

Young was a guest Wednesday on KNBR's Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks Show, discussing the 49ers. When talk turned to the quarterbacks, and what it must have been like for Garoppolo to give way to Lance for one play early in the first quarter, Young had a few things to say about the 49ers current quarterback set up.

"The whole thing is fraught with terror, right?" Young said. "As we said before in the offseason, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan could not have screamed any louder to any of us. They went all in, in a year they thought they'd have a shot, to go from 12 to the top five, for the generation that is going to be John and Kyle's signature. They decided, we don't want Jimmy to be our quarterback, but yet here we are."

Young was suggesting that this quarterback situation will eventually become a quarterback controversy. It's only inevitable, regardless of how well Garoppolo plays.

Young continued, "So when I say fraught with terror, it's because Jimmy is such a great guy, and he's so beloved in the locker room, and he's successful and wins, that he's going to continue to just play it out. But you've got to understand the trajectory of what's the underpinnings of that decision that happened in the spring. They are going to play Trey Lance. They're going to force the issue. Win or Lose."

He's right. The 49ers will eventually play Lance, regardless. They didn't trade three first round picks for a backup signal-caller. And they will continue to work the rookie into games, preparing him for what will someday be his job.

"I think they'll look for more and more opportunities to put Trey in, because in the end, that's what they've spoken that they're going to do. And that's why I say it's fraught with terror because, wait a second, what if Jimmy goes undefeated? Wins a Super Bowl? I think it's going to be fascinating, but the underpinnings of that decision the spring, you need to hold tight to because they are holding tight to it, they are not going to just forget that they went all in for Trey Lance."

This quarterback situation may soon become a controversy. And if Garoppolo does win the Super Bowl, that's a great problem to have. Until then, we'll just sit and wait. And cheer.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Young below.

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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