Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan explains why the 49ers can’t always rely on Trey Lance’s ability to improvise

Oct 6, 2021 at 2:03 PM--


San Francisco 49ers fans are excited about the possibilities of Kyle Shanahan utilizing his young athletic quarterback, Trey Lance. The head coach believes his rookie star-in-the-making has the potential not only to hurt an opposing defense with his arm but also to frustrate an opponent with his legs.

However, that's not something on which Shanahan and the 49ers want to rely.

"Any time you can have a guy create an off-schedule play and buy more time, that's great," Shanahan explained. "When you can run around, and people are playing soft zones, I mean, those only can hold up so long. But that starts turning into a little bit of backyard ball.

"When you get into some of those situations, sometimes it's late in games, you're down a lot, and you can create and make some big plays. But it's got to be that type of game. You don't want to force that type of game. That's stuff I think we'll get used to with Trey and he'll get used to with us."

Lance could be on track toward his first NFL start. It won't be an easy task, though. If he is on the field Sunday for the 49ers' first offensive snap, he will be facing the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, who sit atop the NFC West.

Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a calf injury against the Seattle Seahawks this past weekend. As a result, his status for Week 5 remains up in the air. Garoppolo was held out of today's practice but hopes to get back on the field tomorrow. Even that is uncertain, though.

Lance got most of the practice reps today. He could get all of this week's quarterback reps if Garoppolo's situation doesn't improve enough throughout the week.


"[The swelling] has gone down, which is a good sign compared to how he felt Sunday night, but not enough to let him go out there today," Shanahan explained.

The increased reps could significantly benefit Lance, who typically runs the scout team and mimics the week's opposing quarterback.

"It's huge," Shanahan shared. "I mean, it's huge for whoever goes in that week. You put in a new game plan on Wednesday morning, and they go out and practice it on Wednesday. And then Thursday, you put in a whole new thing for third downs, short-yardage, goal-line, things like that, and they go out Thursday and do it. Friday, you try to review some stuff, but you put in a bunch of red-zone stuff.

"So, that's why, no matter what the position is, usually the guys you're expecting to play get all those reps because it's not just the same stuff. You're doing them versus different fronts, different coverages.

"I think it was huge for him too, having all that time [on the scout team] where he could just go play quarterback and doing some other cards, some other defenses, and not really get tied down to what's in that day—just playing football and getting better at that.

"These practices are more about learning what we do all morning, carrying it over to the field, correcting it at night, coming in the next morning with questions, and how you build up through the week to where you get to [Saturday] night, and you're confident and ready to go to play."

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