Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers great Jerry Rice shares why QB transitions can be challenging for players

Oct 21, 2021 at 9:01 AM--


NFL legend Jerry Rice has witnessed a San Francisco 49ers quarterback transition before — but on a much grander scale. For him, it was watching one future Hall of Fame quarterback succeed another future Hall of Fame quarterback.

There is yet another transition taking place in Santa Clara, this time from Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback who helped guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl just two seasons ago, to rookie Trey Lance. The topic has been discussed at length. When should it happen? How should it happen?

Most of the quarterback discussion is done with an outside perspective. This week, Rice joined the 49ers Talk podcast to share the behind-the-scenes perspective and what a quarterback transition is like for players.

"It's kind of hard to really compare the two [transitions] because Joe [Montana], he was at the top of his game," Rice told Laura Britt. "Then, as Joe got older, and this happened to me too, the team wants to go in a different direction. So, here's Steve Young. We could tell there was something going on but as players, you still try to stay focused and just pay attention to detail, and do what you have to do from your position.

"I'm sure the players know what's happening with Jimmy G and also Trey Lance. Now, can this work by committee with both going back and forth with [the] quarterbacks? It happens. You see it all the time in college."

This isn't college, though, where players' careers can be much shorter than at the professional level. There needs to be more consistency in the NFL for teams to create sustained success, and Rice acknowledged that.

"I'm one of those guys, I always felt like you needed to know exactly who that guy is and that you had to build around that guy," Rice added. "You had to do whatever you had to do to make that individual perform at his best on the football field. Now, Kyle Shanahan, he feels he can go back and forth, and he's the coach of the team. But I always wanted to know exactly who was going to be behind center."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Rice below. It begins at about the 36:30 mark.






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