Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers’ Trey Lance can handle the pressure of starting

Jun 15, 2022 at 1:37 PM--

Trey Lance is slated to be the San Francisco 49ers' Week 1 starting quarterback after starting just two games as a rookie last season. The limited experience made some question whether the 22-year-old is ready to take the reins from Jimmy Garoppolo. It doesn't sound like there's any doubt in the mind of Lance's head coach, Kyle Shanahan.

"Trey's a great dude," Shanahan said during the 49ers' State of the Franchise event. "He's himself. You can tell he was raised very good. He treats everyone right. He's also got a little chip on his shoulder, and he likes to compete out there and play ball. And he handles himself the right way.

"I think the biggest thing on Trey that everyone's got to realize is he is younger. Trey's got more horsepower inside of him than I think he even knows of, just from the whole talent, but also what he's made of, how intelligent he is.

"I think he's going to be able to overcome adversity. I do believe he's going to be able to handle this pressure. It's going to be hard, but that's what the position is. There's only so many people in this world that have the talent to be put in that spot, and there might be 32 of them, but there's definitely not 32 of them who have the talent and who have the stuff inside that allows you to handle that position through the ups and downs and everything. I don't care how good you are, people are going to come after you."

Shanahan used the example of Peyton Manning, who looked nothing like an elite quarterback during his rookie season when he threw 28 interceptions. Manning, of course, ended up becoming one of the best ever to play the position and landed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Could Lance follow a similar path? One thing that benefits the young quarterback is the talented roster around him.

"We've got to put him in positions to help it be easier on him and try to help him be successful," Shanahan continued. "That's why I love the team around him. I feel as good about our wideouts right now as I've felt since we've been here. Our running backs, you saw what Elijah (Mitchell) did last year. We've got to get him healthier so we can do it more throughout the year. I think Trey Sermon learned a ton in his rookie year, and he's realized, 'All right, what do I have in this league and what do I need to improve on?'"

The 49ers added running back Tyrion Davis-Price in this year's draft, creating a lot of depth at the position. The team also has one of the best tight ends in the NFL in George Kittle.

"Yeah, we're missing a couple of guys in the O-line that you know of," Shanahan added. "I still think we have a chance to be better there."

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was also asked about his quarterback. Aiyuk spent some time before the start of the offseason program working with Lance in Southern California.

"I've seen a whole lot from him," Aiyuk shared, "especially since we started this offseason program, seeing how much he's grown, just seeing him throw the football, leading the locker room, connect with guys. We have a special quarterback."

One big offseason takeaway is that we have heard nothing from the 49ers to indicate that the team is considering deviating from its plan to start Lance in 2022, even with Garoppolo still on the roster.

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