Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan: Expect less of 49ers rookie Trey Lance in the shotgun vs. Cardinals

Oct 9, 2021 at 10:55 AM--

NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa says Trey Lance has only been under center four times this season. NFL stats reports eight snaps from under center, per our own Chris Wilson. Regardless, the number is low. Three of those snaps came on passing plays against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend. The rest of the time, the San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback has lined up in the shotgun, forcing opponents to defend him as a potential runner as well as a passing threat.

Lance played most of his collegiate snaps from under center. It sounds like fans can expect him to do so again on Sunday against the division-leading Arizona Cardinals.

"He'll be under center more now that he'll be playing the whole game," head coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. "But when he's come in [before], we always want the threat of him running it, and there's not much of a threat when you're under center. I mean, there's the threat of a quarterback sneak, but once you get in pistol, you get in shotgun, now they've got to think about it. Now, you can use all 11 guys, and there's the threat of the zone-read, there's the threat of options and stuff.

"So, whether you're going to do it or now, it's kind of irrelevant, but you want the defense to always have to honor it."

With starter Jimmy Garoppolo dealing with a calf injury, Lance is getting his first NFL start this weekend. The rookie quarterback got his first extended playing time against the Seahawks after the injury forced Garoppolo out. This weekend, however, represents Lance's first game where the rookie has spent the preceding week getting the majority of the practice reps.

Because of that preparation, Shanahan expects to see a much-improved and comfortable Lance at State Farm Stadium compared to what everyone saw from the quarterback last weekend.

"Just to be able to go through, get all the reps, not only mentally but physically, all week -- for a backup quarterback, it's [typically] all mental, and then you've got to do it on the side," Shanahan said. "You've got to try to generate it on scout team. You've got to try to work on it after with the receivers.

"And also, this is really his first time going into a [hostile and loud] stadium. He's never used the silent count before. Playing at a smaller school and a smaller division, they didn't get more than 15,000 at their games, so he's never played in a loud environment. So, for him to be able to work that all week and stuff like that, I think it was huge for him being able to get all those reps."

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