Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance is ‘the future’ for 49ers but don’t expect rookie’s role to change

Oct 26, 2021 at 9:11 AM--

We know, eventually, Trey Lance will be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He has to be. The team gave up too much to trade up and grab him with the No. 3 overall pick. Head coach Kyle Shanahan's future is dependent on Lance developing into a playmaker.

That development, however, does not appear to include starting as a rookie.

"We know Trey is the future here, and we're trying to do what's best for him and for our team," Shanahan said on Monday. "And Trey's coming off a pretty big injury, and we're going to keep bringing him along and keep getting him prepared as good as he can be to always be ready to come in and help on the plays that we ask him to do. Always be ready to take over if Jimmy gets hurt and being ready to be the future for us too."

Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo will start on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Lance is returning from a knee sprain that left him inactive this past weekend against the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers expect the rookie to practice this week but don't expect him to be full-go in those three sessions, the first of which is on Wednesday. If things go well, Lance could be suited up on the Chicago sideline this weekend. If his knee looks really good, he may even get thrown into the game for a few plays.

"Coming back from the injury, they tell me he's on pace to be able to come out to practice on Wednesday," Shanahan said. "He might be a little limited at it, though, but that's what we're hoping for. But in terms of deciding who's going at quarterback, that has to do with Jimmy's health. Jimmy, I wanted to see how his calf was. It was good today, and so he'll be starting.

"Hopefully, Trey will get back in practice and have a good enough week to where he can dress. If Trey ends up dressing, then there's always a good chance that he'll end up getting some plays in there."

Anyone who questions how the 49ers are developing their young and inexperienced quarterback probably doesn't like that Lance's practice reps have been limited to the scout team. The scout team is responsible for mimicking an opponent's offense, giving the starters a good look at what to expect for an upcoming game. That's right; Lance isn't getting many (if any) reps in the offense he will one day be asked to take over.

Shanahan, however, sees the scout-team reps as an opportunity for his young quarterback.

"I think the best thing for Trey, since the season started, has been scout team, though," Shanahan said in September. "Then he can go out there and not have to think as much. Just kind of use his fundamentals but look at a card, see his routes and really try to play in that pocket. And when that pocket breaks down, explode out of there and try to make an off-schedule play. And just kind of having the freedom to do that each day."

Added Shanahan: "He's always got a chance to play each week. Normally, a backup quarterback only has a chance with injury, but we know if there is an injury, he'll be in there for a while."

There is no competition between Garoppolo and Lance right now. Therefore, Shanahan doesn't see a reason to take away valuable reps from his starting quarterback when he feels Lance can develop in other ways.

"Trey hasn't practiced in two weeks since his knee injury," Shanahan said on Monday. "So, when he does come back, which is hopefully Wednesday, he's probably going to be limited as it is. So, I haven't decided [on the rep count] yet.

"I got to see where he is, but odds are when it comes to the game plan, and what we're doing, you're not going to just start rotating quarterbacks because it's not an open competition right now."

When might it be time for Lance's workload to increase? Shanahan said there is no reason — other than injuries — to alter the depth chart as long as the 49ers are still in playoff contention. At 2-4, San Francisco still has a chance to turn things around. However, the team has lost four consecutive games, and Sunday's 30-18 loss to the Colts may be a new low for the Shanahan era.

"I get all the questions, but it's way too early for me to start thinking about just getting guys experience and giving up on the year in that way," Shanahan explained. "I'm trying to do what's best for our team, and also what's best for those players, not just Trey, but other guys. Getting experience just to get it isn't always beneficial."

More San Francisco 49ers News

Why Kyle Shanahan didn't give Trey Lance more playing time during 49ers-Jaguars

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Nov 22

During Sunday's victory against the Jaguars, 49ers quarterback Trey Lance got his first live snaps since his first NFL start in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals, although most of them were handoffs. While the game seemed out of reach for much of the fourth quarter, head coach Kyle Shanahan elected not to put his rookie into the game to gain some of that "game-time" experience that Shanahan alluded to last week. Lance trotted out for the first time in over a month during the 49ers last offensive series, in which he handed the ball off twice, rushed once, and kneeled twice to end the game. When asked about whether Shanahan had any thoughts

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says Trey Sermon is improving but 'there is a pecking order'

By David Bonilla
Nov 22

Trey Sermon was a third-round pick in April's draft. However, the San Francisco 49ers' sixth-round pick, Elijah Mitchell, is the team's starting running back and leading rusher. Sermon had 10 carries during Sunday's 30-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Before that, his last carry came in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. Sermon moved up the depth chart because Mitchell was inactive due to rib and finger injuries. Kyle Shanahan insists that Sermon is showing improvement. On Monday, one day after the team's Week 11 win, the 49ers coach spoke with reporters and discussed the developing rookie running back. "I think he's better now than when he was given the last opportunity," Shanahan said of Sermon. "I know I get these questions about Trey

49ers QB Trey Lance finding ways to progress despite not getting any playing time

By Kirk Larrabee
Dec 2

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance hasn't played a significant in-game role on offense for the San Francisco 49ers in nearly two months, but that doesn't necessarily mean he hasn't been picking up valuable experience since then. Lance saw some late snaps in the 49ers' 30-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in November, but other than that he hasn't seen any playing time since starting in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo against the Cardinals on October 10. Lance suffered a knee injury in that game that put him on the sidelines for a brief time, while Garoppolo came back as the starter after an October 17 bye and has held a firm grip on that role ever since. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan made it a point to give Lance some situational looks at times earlier in the

The Jimmy Garoppolo Conundrum, and why the 49ers are in no hurry to change

By Chris Beno
Nov 30

Life with Jimmy Garoppolo as the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback is nothing short of a roller coaster ride. With the highs and lows that come with Garoppolo under center, fans are constantly battling mixed emotions about the signal-caller. Of course, fans like him, but many expect more from the $27 million passer. After all, a top paid player should give a higher level of production, right? I personally feel that there's such a wide range of emotions because Garoppolo's stats don't tell the full story. All anyone talks about is Garoppolo's 30-12 record as an NFL starter. The win-loss record is and always will be a team statistic, not a quarterback statistic. On paper, Garoppolo is fine. However, watching the games with my eyes tell me something else. From Week 8 to


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone