Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers made 2022 QB decision a year ago with Trey Lance

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 25, 2022 at 5:25 PM--

On the eve of training camp, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with the Athletic's Tim Kawakami, focusing on his young quarterback Trey Lance as he enters his first season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers.

Reminiscing on last season, Shanahan praised Garoppolo for his performance in leading the 49ers en route to the NFC Championship Game, but admitted that the 49ers figured out their quarterback situation last year with the selection of Trey Lance, understanding that the salary cap made it tough to carry Garoppolo for 2022.

"We had an awesome run with Jimmy, it was great. But when you bring in a salary cap and things like that, there are so many tough decisions that you have to make and we made [that decision] a year ago. And we got to here and I was so happy [with] how Jimmy played last year, that he took us almost to the Super Bowl, got healthy, [and] guys around him played real well around him. But, this is something that we did last year knowing where we wanted to go with this franchise and how you balance out a salary cap, how you balance out a roster, and Jimmy gave Trey a year that I thought he needed just to get used to this league, get his feet wet a little bit."

Lance has received all the first-team reps this offseason with Garoppolo nursing a shoulder injury, and Shanahan believes that the 49ers are ready to roll with their young quarterback for the 2022 season, while believing that what Lance needs is the necessary reps.

"I think our team's ready for Trey, going through OTAs, I'm just pumped to get to work [and] provide him some practices because I know the kid has the abilities, made of the right stuff, he just needs the reps."

Shanahan understands that Lance will suffer through ups and downs in his sophomore season, but doesn't think that the 49ers are dependent on him right away, similar to how they weren't with Garoppolo in 2019.

"I know there's going to be some good. I also know there's going to be some bad, but I like the situation we're putting him in where I feel we have the team that if we can stay healthy and build the team around him, I don't think it all depends on Trey right away," Shanahan said. "Just like Jimmy in 2019. He hadn't played a lot of football and he was coming off an ACL. I knew I believed in him, but I didn't know how he was going to play and it took him some time off of his injury. Not to mention, he hadn't started many games in his career prior than that. As he went, he had some ups and downs, some good times, some bad times, but we played such good defense around him. We had some young receivers who made some plays [and] we ran the ball. Before you knew it, we were 8-0 and then he started playing really well. He took us on a stretch in that year into the playoffs where in that middle of the season, [he played] some of his best football and our team allowed him to get to that point."

Shanahan pointed out Lance's supporting cast, as well as the strong defense that the 22-year-old will be able to rely on, while also declaring confidence in Lance's abilities.

"I see us going into this season very much to where Trey's going to do a lot of good stuff, but he also hasn't played a lot of ball. And that's why we can take him through these games and still have a chance to win each game [we're in] without putting him in all that stuff because he does have a defense he can rely on [and] he'll have a running game he can rely on. I love our weapons with our receivers [and] our tight ends, and I'm really excited about our team here to where we don't have to go into it and [think] it'll be all about Trey. I think it's going to be all about our team and we're going to allow him to move with our team. The kid's made of the right stuff and he has the ability to do it, and [I] hope the fans are patient with him. I think our team's going to understand that we have the right type of guy, and they're going to see some real encouraging stuff out there from him early."

It's safe to say that Lance has the trust of his head coach heading into 2022.

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