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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Quotes: Trey Lance ‘prepared,’ says Deebo Samuel; Trent Williams surprised by lack of interest in Garoppolo

Sep 5, 2022 at 5:04 PM--

On Monday, the San Francisco 49ers held their first of four practices of the week as the team prepares for its regular-season opener at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears. It was a bonus practice because of the lengthy preparation time between the last preseason game and Week 1. Typically, the team will hold three full practices leading to a game.

Several players spoke with reporters inside the locker room after practice. One of those players was wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who returned to the practice field after missing last week due to a knee contusion. He says he's fine now and has no concerns about his Week 1 availability.

Trey Lance's readiness

Trey Lance is entering his first season as a full-time starter after only two starts last season and just one full season as a starter at North Dakota State.

"He's prepared," Samuel said of Lance, via Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group. "Kyle does a good job with the game plan, meeting with him."

The lack of experience shouldn't be as big an issue for the 49ers as some predict. That's because the team is stacked at nearly every other position. Lance will have a plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal, including Samuel. On the other side of the football, he'll have what should be one of the best defenses in the league, hopefully keeping opposing teams from scoring too many points.

"We'll bring him along, being the vets in the huddle for him – Trent (Williams), Juice (Kyle Juszczyk), B.A. (Brandon Aiyuk), (George) Kittle," Samuel added. "You've got guys around him that will build his confidence, even if he gets in a slump."

Jimmy Garoppolo's return

Last week's biggest news was the return of Jimmy Garoppolo, who didn't actually go anywhere. It's just that no one expected him to be on the roster come Week 1. After failing to trade the veteran quarterback, the 49ers worked out a restructured one-year deal with Garoppolo, allowing him to return as Lance's backup at a reduced salary.

The 49ers brain trust didn't make the move hastily, though. After speaking with Garoppolo, they discussed the possibility with Lance before talking to about 15 veteran leaders on the team. Everyone agreed that Garoppolo returning made a lot of sense, even if the team now belonged to Lance.

"Kyle does a good job of communicating with the players, so we kind of knew. It didn't catch anybody by surprise," Samuel said. "We were all on board. That's what it's going to be."

The players trust Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to do what's best for the team and believe their track record has earned them that respect.

"The core nucleus of the guys we have here and the culture we've established over the last five or six years with Kyle and John, our locker room is in a position where we can handle things like this," right tackle Mike McGlinchey said, again, via Inman, "and it doesn't derail our focus or our enthusiasm. Because of that, it's seamless and everybody is excited about it, excited to keep our friend in the building, and also help a guy who's immensely talented win games."

One 49ers player was shocked by the lack of interest in Garoppolo. After all, the quarterback is a proven winner, has been to two of the last three NFC Championship Games, and started in a Super Bowl.

"Yeah, I was surprised that nobody stood up and made him their guy," left tackle Trent Williams said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. "That surprised me more than anything."

Williams wasn't as shocked by Garoppolo's return, knowing that the quarterback likes the locker room and is familiar with the offense. Who knows what he might have encountered on the open market after being released? The offensive lineman was only surprised that no one was willing to trade for Garoppolo.

"But I expected him to be somewhere and starting for somebody," Williams added.

Roster built to compete

Samuel knows the 49ers have a roster that can beat any opponent. From himself, Williams, and tight end George Kittle to defensive end Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner, there is no shortage of star power on the team. That's why anything short of a Super Bowl win will be a disappointment.

"This team is as good as we want it to be, meaning, everybody is firing on all cylinders, everybody is where they need to be," Samuel said. "We're a team that's going to be knocking right on the door. We have the players, we have the coaches, we have the mindset."


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