Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan explains the absence of Trey Lance during 49ers-Eagles

Sep 20, 2021 at 4:42 PM--


After playing four snaps in the San Francisco 49ers' Week 1 victory over the Detroit Lions, many expected rookie quarterback Trey Lance's role to increase in Week 2. Instead, Lance remained on the sideline for the entirety of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The lack of playing time made headlines, but head coach Kyle Shanahan has said the rookie's role would be dependant on the game plan.

It doesn't seem like Shanahan wants to play Lance just to play him. That, of course, has led some to wonder if the 49ers are properly handling the development of the rookie.

Shanahan insists he doesn't enter games with a set number of plays that feature Jimmy Garoppolo's athletic backup.

"No, I never have a plan that, 'Hey, I'm going to use him, or I'm not going to use him,'" Shanahan said today during a conference call. "It's always an option throughout the game. It's been two games, and I've never had him in the openers, and I've never had him as a designated time. I plan on doing that week-to-week and whenever I feel like putting him in. You saw when I did in Week 1, and I never got that urge in Week 2."

One of Lance's four plays against the Lions was at the end of a Garoppolo-led drive. The rookie tossed a touchdown to wide receiver Trent Sherfield. Garoppolo congratulated Lance on the sideline, and that grabbed the attention of broadcast announcer Mark Sanchez.

"That's not an easy hug to give," Sanchez said on-air while praising Garoppolo for how he has handled the whole situation. Lance, after all, is his eventual successor.

Garoppolo was asked about Sanchez's comments last week. His response was very honest.

"He's not wrong," Garoppolo said while laughing. "No, [it's an] it-is-what-it-is type of situation. It's one of those [situations where] we had a good drive, marched down there, Kyle called the package, and he's the head coach, so whatever he calls, goes.

"It's just one of those things that you can only control what you can control. And I'm out there with my boys, making the best of it, having a good time. And at the end of the day, we're playing football, trying to get a win. So, whatever it takes. But it is what it is, you know?"

Who knows if we will see Lance on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. But, if we do, it will likely be because Shanahan feels certain plays featuring him can better attack the opposing defense. It won't be just because he wants to give the young quarterback valuable reps.

"[Y]ou don't really make decisions based off your team of just putting a guy in totally just for how that is for him in the future," Shanahan said. "I think that'd be irresponsible to everybody else in the room. You do it if you think it gives you a chance based off of what's going on in that game, that game only.

"In the meantime, yeah, it's nice for a guy to get out there. But if it wasn't because he was bringing a different element that we thought could help us with something that we're going against, there's no other reason that we would do it."

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