Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

“I think he’s going to be an absolute star”: Kyle Juszczyk shares thoughts on 49ers’ patient approach with Trey Lance

Sep 28, 2021 at 12:01 PM--

Fans can be quick to turn on a quarterback. It wasn't that long ago that Jimmy Garoppolo heard loud cheers from the Levi's Stadium crowd when he took the field. Now, it seems that level of enthusiasm is reserved for the No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance, who serves as Garoppolo's backup.

Lance has just seven snaps this season. However, he already has a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in those limited reps. Watching other rookie quarterbacks play over the weekend has led some to consider that maybe head coach Kyle Shanahan is doing the right thing when it comes to Lance's development. Perhaps observing and learning, sprinkling in a play or two here or there, is what's best for the rookie's development.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk believes the 49ers are doing the right thing with Lance and that the quarterback will benefit from the plan in the long run.

"I do think it's going to do him a lot of good to be eased in and get a few plays here and there each week," Juszczyk said during his Tuesday-morning interview on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "I know, just speaking for myself, I feel like that would have helped me as a rookie, to just kind of ease my way in there, get to feel out the atmosphere of NFL games before it's all on your shoulders, especially the way it is at the quarterback position."

Lance gets to run the scout team during practices. That means playing the role of the upcoming opposing quarterback. Shanahan believes that experience has been very valuable.

"He gets three practices [a week] at that, and this week is his third different offense doing it in," Shanahan said last week ahead of the Packers game. "You always try to relate it to ours, but I think that gives a guy a lot of confidence. Rookies I've watched over the years, they usually develop that on [the] practice squad, in those practice reps. He's always got a chance to play each week.

"Normally, a backup quarterback only has a chance with injury, but we know if there is an injury, he'll be in there for a while. But when you have some plays that you can do and some situational stuff, he's got a chance every week to be in there, and that's why he's always up and staying into it."

While fans only get a glimpse of the 49ers' quarterback of the future during games, Juszczyk sees Lance practicing almost daily. The fullback likes the progress he's seen from the 21-year-old quarterback.

"I really have seen him grow each and every week," Juszczyk said. "He's a sponge out there, man. He just wants to soak up all the knowledge he can. He's always around Jimmy, just trying to learn anything he can from. He's always asking veterans for advice. So, he's doing all the right things. I do think, when the time comes, that it's his turn to take this thing over, I think he's going to be an absolute star.

"I think patience is the key, but I think there's very good things ahead for Trey Lance."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Juszczyk below.

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