Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch evaluates 49ers rookie Trey Lance’s first start, explains Trey Sermon’s vanishing act

Oct 12, 2021 at 5:09 PM--

Trey Lance started his first NFL game this past weekend, replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo. The rookie quarterback's performance had its ups and downs. Despite the defeat and the San Francisco 49ers falling to 2-3 on the season, the outing was an excellent opportunity for Lance to learn and gain valuable experience.

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR today. He offered an evaluation of Lance's first start and didn't feel the moment was too big for the 21-year-old.

"I think that was the case from the very first play," Lynch said on the Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "You know, welcome to the NFL. J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones blow by our offensive line on the first play, and Trey's got enough athleticism and instinct to pull up and make an explosive play for us out of that.

"As you learn the game and see things, for instance, in that game, there were some unscouted looks that we knew we'd see, and there was no way to prepare for those other than just feeling them and seeing them. And I thought Trey responded in really good fashion.

"Look, I think we all are aware that we've got to score more points than what we did, but I felt like Trey did a good job. We talked a lot about having his back and everyone picking up their game. I'm not sure we did enough of that. But I thought Trey Lance did a really nice job, and I think you can see there's a lot to be excited about moving forward with him."

Lynch was also asked about Lance's 16 rushing attempts, which many felt was probably too much to put on the shoulders of such an inexperienced quarterback. However, the general manager believes that the Cardinals' game plan forced the situation.

"I think it just set up that the quarterback runs were advantageous for us," Lynch said. "I think everybody knows ... it's not sustainable to run the ball 16 times a game with your quarterback. I think that was more of a -- this particular game.

"I do think Trey does a really nice job -- and we're saying that knowing he came out with a slight injury. But I do think, as a whole, Trey does a really good job of protecting himself because he's a very instinctive runner. But he's a physical player as well.

"I think that's something we're going to have to learn to do. And I think a lot of that, some of the impromptu plays that develop because of his mobility, that was new to our offense as well."

Lynch acknowledges that the lack of practice time was probably a factor. He's a backup quarterback. The offense isn't used to having an athletic player like Lance improvising to make something happen. The offense will improve as that chemistry is built.

Another rookie, running back Trey Sermon, had 41 offensive snaps during Week 3, replacing an injured Elijah Mitchell. He had 89 rushing yards on 19 carries in his 39 snaps during Week 4.

Sermon had two snaps in Week 5, which included just one carry for seven yards. How does the 49ers general manager explain the running back's vanishing act? He admits to being a little stunned that Sermon was not utlized more in Arizona.

"I thought he was improving each week," Lynch said. "I guess the bottom line is Elijah Mitchell came back, and Elijah had been really good prior to getting injured, hurting his shoulder. I thought Elijah came back and was running the football well. And we ran the ball a lot with Trey [Lance]. You couple those two things and there weren't that many carries. I think that's the best explanation.

"But I can tell you that everybody is very pleased. Even the one run Trey Sermon had, I think he went for eight or nine (it was seven) yards. Trey's really on the right track. We're proud of his development, and I expect to see him as part of us in a bigger way moving forward."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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