Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Lance improving thanks to help from 49ers locker neighbors

Aug 6, 2022 at 1:16 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance is learning. He's had a lot of help, though. Last season, he spent his first year in the NFL learning from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, serving as the veteran's backup. Lance has one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL helping him develop. While Garoppolo works on preparing for his next chapter elsewhere, other veteran teammates have stepped in to work with Lance and offer advice.

Two of those veterans are his locker room neighbors, safety Jimmie Ward and cornerback Jason Verrett. The arrangement probably isn't a coincidence. Ward and Verrett are two of the best pass defenders on the 49ers defense.

During Saturday's practice, Ward hauled in a Lance-thrown football. That will likely spark some conversation in the locker room between the two teammates.

"I'm sure he will [let me hear about it]," Lance told reporters after practice, "but he's going to have to hear from me again tomorrow, so he's not going to say too much about it. But he made a great play, and he's always helping me out with little things."

Those discussions will speed up Lance's development. The 49es safety knows helping the young quarterback is a recipe for team success.

"We talk every day," Ward said this week. "If I get him on a play, he'll come and ask me, 'Hey, what defense was that you all were playing in?' Or, 'What made you bite on this route and not go to this area?' We just chop it up like that, trying to make each other better."

Added Lance: "It's great to have a guy like that. In that room, as much respect as he has, from me, from the whole team, this whole organization, not a lot of guys have as much respect as Jimmie. So for me to be able to just have a conversation with him, and joke around, and compete against him every single day is awesome."

Then you have Verrett, who isn't practicing yet as he returns from last year's ACL injury. That allows the veteran cornerback to observe everything his locker mate does on the practice field.

"Jason Verrett's on the other side of my locker. It's the same thing [as with Ward]," Lance said. "He's at practice paying attention, so anything that I'm giving away or they're giving away, we're always talking back and forth."

As Lance stated Friday on KNBR, the game has slowed down for him compared to his rookie campaign.

"I think when you say, 'Things slowing down,' it's just getting better," Lance elaborated on Saturday. "And for me, it's every single rep. Every rep I take, I think the game slows down, and that's kind of the way I'm going about it every single day. One day at a time and every single rep, just trying to learn as much as I can from it."

San Francisco kicks off its preseason with a home game next week against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, August 12.
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