Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Young weighs in on the narrative that 49ers’ Trey Lance isn’t ready

May 16, 2022 at 7:51 PM--

Many have questioned Trey Lance's readiness as the second-year quarterback prepares to enter his first season as a starter. The San Francisco 49ers are transitioning from Jimmy Garoppolo to Lance, yet both remain on the roster despite the team's efforts to trade the former.

The 49ers have maintained that they are confident in their 22-year-old quarterback to step into the starting role. However, others have questioned that confidence, speculating that there may be some doubt in Lance's progress from year one. Garoppolo remaining with the team this far into the offseason has fueled much of that.

The truth is, Garoppolo probably wouldn't be on the roster had he been healthy. Instead, the quarterback is recovering from his March 8 shoulder surgery.

Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young joined The Rich Eisen Show on Monday and shared his thoughts on the narrative surrounding Lance.

"One thing about Trey that everyone has to understand is that he has not played a lot of football—in general," Young told Eisen. "And a lot of things that you figure out in college over the years is just marking receivers and understanding what your arm can do. Just things that you figure out [from] reps and doing it over and over.

"When they say he's not ready, it because there's not that body of work of him being on the field. They see what's on the field—like amazing talent, an amazing arm, and all the things, but there's so much more to quarterbacking. So when someone says he's not ready, it's easy to say because he hasn't done it."

Young, like 49ers fans, is eager to see if Lance has developed enough to anticipate his targets running along their routes, finding open receivers, and getting the football out of his hands on time. Young believes Lance is capable of all that. However, there is one concern in the analyst's mind.

"Now, what I do worry about—but it's still early, so I don't know—is his sense of accuracy," Young continued. "The sense of, 'My brain knows where to go with the ball, but my arm's not necessarily cooperating.' And that's the biggest ... as we get into the Trey Lance issues, that's the issue that I really want to focus on this summer and as he gets into the fall, playing. ... Because I do believe that he has the ability to kind of find the open guy, and the processing power you worry about. He has that."

As Lance figures all that out, he is without one of his best offensive weapons. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel is unlikely to join his teammates before the mandatory minicamp in mid-June. There is a chance he won't even be there at that time. News broke in April that Samuel requested a trade. Aside from the receiver re-following the team on Instagram, nothing indicates that the relationship has improved.

"For the 49ers, I can't think of a more valuable player in the league," Young said. "If you had to choose somebody to come play for the 49ers, I think the number one most valuable player that you could choose is Deebo, if he's focused and in shape. If Deebo is not focused and not in shape, then that's another story.

"But to me, getting Deebo in shape and focused on the 49ers with Trey Lance is vital, to say the least."

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