Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


49ers’ Kyle Shanahan hopes Trey Lance’s versatility becomes a significant advantage

Sep 17, 2022 at 4:32 PM--



Trey Lance ran the football 13 times for 54 yards in the San Francisco 49ers' regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears. A handful of those runs were by design. Unfortunately, they weren't enough to pull out a win, with the 49ers losing 19-10.

Shanahan hopes Lance's versatility becomes a significant advantage moving forward, though. He wants to keep defenses on their toes and guessing what the 49ers offense might do on any given play. Even when it seems like Lance might pass, his threat of taking off with the football can change how a defense reacts.

"That's his advantage, and that's what he's got to keep," Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. "I mean, that's what gives him an advantage in this league, when you are a threat to run, even though you don't have to do it every time. It can make things easier on him.

"And it didn't feel like we gave him 13 runs. I was surprised at that, but I don't really count the sneaks. I don't count scrambles, things like that. So they're not all designed that way. A lot of it had to do with options and stuff.

But there's going to be weeks where it's like that. There's going to be weeks where there's less. There's going to be weeks where there's more. But there will never be a week where that's not an option on any given down."

Lance finished the game 13-of-28 passing for 164 yards and an interception. So how did the coach evaluate his quarterback's play when it came to throwing the football?

"Outside of the runs, I thought he had real good command," Shanahan shared. "I think when we got down those two scores and that monsoon kind of hit, whoever was up at that time was winning that game. I thought that got a little bit ridiculous.

"It was very similar to how our Indy game was last year, which was déjà vu because I'd been watching that game all week because the [Bears] head coach, [Matt] Eberflus, was at Indy for that game. He was the [defensive] coordinator. So it was very similar to that game. You go back and look at our passing stats in that game, and it was pretty rough too.

"So I don't wish that on anybody. But for the most part, I thought [Lance] had some good plays. And then, towards the end, it [fell] apart, and that pick that he had, I thought it was a hell of a play by [Bears safety Eddie Jackson]. You obviously can't throw it, but I was pretty impressed by the play by the safety."

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