Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance won’t “make or break” 49ers’ 2022 season

Aug 16, 2022 at 8:22 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers probably would have done well last season with or without Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm for the majority of the games. They may not have been a lock for an NFC Championship Game appearance without their steady game manager, but the season probably wouldn't have been a flop with rookie Trey Lance under center.

The reason for that is the level of talent on the roster. The team was loaded with playmakers on both sides of the football. A case could be made that Lance should have played more. The then-21-year-old quarterback, more than anything, needed reps—more than the two starts he got filling in for an injured Garoppolo. He entered the NFL with just 17 collegiate starts under his belt and only 318 passes thrown.

"Is Trey ready to take it on his shoulders?" head coach Kyle Shanahan said to Peter King of NBC Sports. "He shouldn't be. He hasn't gone through it enough."

It sounds like Shanahan is tempering his expectations surrounding his young quarterback.

Lance will play plenty this season, and a lot of his success will depend upon how much he developed behind Garoppolo. However, the season might not rely entirely on him. Shanahan knows that. Lance will have his ups and downs. However, the 49ers are talented enough to endure any growing pains experienced by their second-year quarterback.

"I believe in him as a man, as a person," Shanahan continued. "I believe in his talent. I don't think he is going to make or break our season, just like in 2019 and last year, I didn't think Jimmy was going to make or break our season."

The 49ers owned one of the best defenses in the league in 2019, carrying the team to a Super Bowl appearance. Then, after an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, San Francisco bounced back in 2021, returning to the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three years—all with Garoppolo at the helm.

The 49ers invested a lot to acquire Lance. Taking the reins from Garoppolo was inevitable. Shanahan nearly turned to Lance last season when the 49ers went on a losing streak. However, the team turned things around and went on a run.

Shanahan added, "But what sucks is when you're learning how to play, and you're not there yet, how do you not get worse sometimes when that pressure's on you, and you need to go through the growing pains?"

Maybe it was good that Lance sat most of last year and didn't have to deal with the pressure of the team's high expectations just yet. He's a year older and a year wiser now. The 49ers hope that's enough to result in a successful 2022 campaign.



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