Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers more excited about Trey Lance now than when they drafted him, says John Lynch

Jan 14, 2022 at 9:17 AM--

Trey Lance has primarily spent his first NFL season as a student, learning the game. He's had two starts in place of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo but has spent most game days on the sideline as an observer.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has benefited from watching Lance in practices all season and witnessing his development. On Friday morning, Lynch joined 95.7 The Game and was asked how he would evaluate the rookie's first season.

"I think it's been awesome," Lynch responded. "And a lot of people, I'm sure, are like, 'Man, this guy's crazy. What do you mean? He hasn't played that much.' But we had a plan for Trey, and I think the plan was to take it week by week. And we just wanted to see constant growth and development.

"The thing I'll tell you about Trey—we're more excited about him today than when we drafted him. And that's because of the amount of horsepower that he has. When you're trying to find a franchise quarterback, you're looking at everything. You're looking at competitive greatness, about when the moment's big, how are they going to respond? You're talking about the physical traits and tools. He's got all of those."

Lance looked like a rookie in his first start, a Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and the beginning of his Week 17 start against the Houston Texans. But the rookie improved as that game went on, finishing 16-of-23 for 249 yards with two touchdowns, an interception, and a passer rating of 116.0.

"The mental capacity, Kyle's going to challenge a quarterback, and any player, for that matter," Lynch continued. "Can he handle that? Absolutely. You check that box. And then a lot of it is just experience, and the best way to get that is on the field, but we also had a team capable [of winning], so we were going to make the best decision [for the team].

"So, we've been very creative as to how we try to further that growth without him playing game reps, and I've seen him get better right before our eyes. And he's also got that quality, like Jimmy, he's just a guy that people love and like, and his teammates have that respect for him.

"And it's been awesome to watch Jimmy and Trey develop their relationship, and I give Jimmy all the credit for that because it would be easy to say, 'Get out of my room.' Instead, he's done nothing but help the kid. It's been awesome, and I think that's kind of representative of the feel that this team has for each other. We all have each others' backs. That's what makes you feel so confident going into this playoff run."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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