Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Dungy believes it’s ok for 49ers’ Trey Lance to sit for now

Marc Adams
Oct 22, 2021 at 10:27 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers have lost three consecutive games, and have two quarterbacks hobbled by injuries. Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo has been dealing with an injury to his right calf. He missed the team's last game, a 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie Trey Lance suffered a left knee sprain in the loss to Arizona.

Unless you have been sleeping for the past few weeks, you no doubt have seen and heard the countless arguments surrounding the 49ers quarterback situation. It's been fascinating (and exhausting) to listen to the different sides. You expect this kind of thing from fans. But the media has also been active in this debate, whether local reporters and beat writers, or national media members.

Hall of Fame coach, and current football analyst, Tony Dungy, weighed in on the discussion as a guest on 49ers Talk with Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt.

The argument to play Garoppolo: If healthy, he gives the team the best chance to win

Many take the side that Lance is not yet ready, and as a result, Garoppolo gives the 49ers the best chance to win. This is still a good roster, and the team still has a legitimate chance to make the playoffs. This is certainly where the 49ers coaching staff and front office stand. Dungy seems to agree.

"If you're Kyle Shanahan and you really believe Jimmy Garoppolo gives you the best chance to win, you have to do that," Dungy said on 49ers Talk. "You owe it to your team to put the person out there that gives you the best chance to win right now. That's no knock on Trey Lance.

"When you have a quarterback that you know can take you to the playoffs and win, you can't just say, 'Oh, well, we're going to put the rookie in because he needs to play,'" Dungy said. "You still have to play who gives you the best chance to win right now."

The argument to play Lance: He's already better than Garoppolo

There are a number of fans and media members who believe Lance is already better than Garoppolo, and can do everything the veteran can do. They will point to the rookie's only start, in Arizona against a very good defense, as proof. Lance made plenty of mistakes, but he also made plenty of good plays to keep his team within reach of winning the game.

But don't count Dungy as part of the "Trey is better than Jimmy" crowd. Regarding Garoppolo, Dungy said, "This is not a journeyman quarterback that they're replacing or eventually going to replace. Jimmy Garoppolo took this team to the Super Bowl -- a couple of plays from winning the Super Bowl. They know they can win with him."

The argument to play Lance: He needs the experience

Then there is the crowd who believes Lance should play right now, in order to speed up his development. Those who argue this seem to be willing to throw away this season in favor of the future. The thinking here is that maybe Lance won't win as many games as Garoppolo right now, but he will develop faster, and be better down the road for having played now.

Dungy, however, doesn't seem to agree with this argument either. "This, to me, is more like Patrick Mahomes going to Kansas City and sitting behind Alex Smith for a year or Aaron Rodgers going to Green Bay and sitting behind Brett Favre," said Dungy.

Dungy appears to side with how Kyle Shanahan is approaching this. "We may not know exactly what Trey Lance can do for another year," Dungy said. "And that's OK. The coaches know."

Shanahan has continued to tell everyone that Lance will play when he gives the 49ers the best chance to win. And he is sticking to that for now...for better or for worse.

"They drafted Trey Lance for a reason. He's going to fit this offense. He's going to be fine. It may not be this week. It may not be four weeks from now. But down the road, he's going to be just fine."

Whichever argument you side with, Shanahan is making the decision. He will do what he believes is best for the team. For now, we can only be patient, and cheer for whoever is out there.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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