Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


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

Dec 2, 2021 at 4:56 PM--


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 season, however those opportunities have gone away in recent games. But Lance is still making progress in practice while working with the scout team, according to offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.

"There's always progress because there are so many things that go into playing the quarterback position," McDaniel told reporters after practice on Thursday. "Each and every day, he's presented with different challenges and is forced to operate within the pocket in different ways. He sees our coverages and has to execute various plays that overlap with our offense. So there is growth each and every week because you're getting to experience things. You get to have trials, errors. It's all about reps, and each week is very important for him on the scout team preparing our defense as well as preparing himself."

The 49ers facing different styles of quarterbacks in recent weeks is another thing that has helped Lance learn. Last week it was Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, while this week it's a much more mobile threat in Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

"It is cool for him to find himself as a player when you're back-to-back weeks are Kirk Cousins, where you're primarily emphasizing pocket passing, and then our defense has to be ready for off-schedules," McDaniel said. "I'm not sure there's a quarterback that's done it better in this league than Russell Wilson. It is beneficial to have that variance because whatever you're emphasizing, you get reps at that component of your game. So having them back-to-back weeks has been great for him."

Barring another injury to Garoppolo, it seems likely at this point that Lance may not get another opportunity to start before next season. Whether or not Lance gets any further chances to see situational snaps like he did early in the season is less certain. Shanahan spoke briefly earlier in the week about why he's moved away from inserting Lance into games.

"It's more about me to tell you the truth," Shanahan said, per NBC Sports Bay Area. "In terms of calling plays, We get into a rhythm of attacking a defense and what fronts they are playing and what coverages. Every play kind of plays off the next play and you get a feel, our players do and I, of what we are going to."

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