Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What Steve Young wants to see from Trey Lance during OTAs

Feb 2, 2023 at 9:35 AM--

Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, and Jimmy Garoppolo. All three quarterbacks started games for the San Francisco 49ers this season. However, only one will be available when organized team activities (OTAs) begin in May.

Purdy suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow of his throwing arm during the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game. He is expected to miss about six months.

Garoppolo is scheduled to hit free agency. On Wednesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if he could envision a scenario where the veteran quarterback returns to the team in 2023.

"No, I don't see any scenario of that," Shanahan responded.

That leaves Lance.

"I plan on being 100 percent far before OTAs," Lance told reporters on Tuesday. "Probably about three, three-and-a-half weeks out from being totally cleared, from today. So I feel like I'm in a real good spot, so definitely planning on being 100 percent before OTAs."

49ers legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, now an analyst for ESPN, joined KNBR on Wednesday, sharing what he wants to see from Lance in OTAs. The 22-year-old quarterback, a former No. 3 overall draft pick, will be entering his third NFL season.

"The hope is that he's the kind of guy that needed to see it," Young said on the Tolbert & Copes show. "When you see it, if you're that kind of a person that can take it in and go, 'Oh, that's how you do it? That's what it's supposed to look like? Now, I've witnessed it.' I think Jimmy showed him that, pieces of it. Brock showed him important pieces of it and he watched it every day.

"If he can take it in and somehow assimilate it, kind of alchemize it into his psyche, then we've got hope. But if we get the same kind of thing without development because he has played very little—how many times do we talk about how little football he's played? Brock's played close to 10 times more football than Trey's played. Can Trey start to assimilate and alchemize it into his life so that he can be a bigger threat? Because as he started this season, there were struggles, there were big missing pieces to it."

Purdy has started 54 games between his collegiate and NFL careers. Lance has started 21. Young likely exaggerated, saying the former had 10 times more experience than the latter. However, it is significantly more, which is his point.

Purdy entered the NFL with 46 starts and 48 game appearances with Iowa State already under his belt. That likely contributed to him looking NFL-ready as soon as he stepped on the football field. On the other hand, Lance appeared in just 19 games, starting 17 with North Dakota State.

"Can he fill it in by watching?" Young continued. "And the OTAs, to me, I don't want to wait until the season. I want to start to see this stuff in the OTAs where it's [an] 'Oh, I saw it, I get it, and watch me now' kind of thing. And that's what I want to see right away. If I see the OTAs, and it's like, 'I watched, and you know what? I kind of still do the same thing, and I kind of feel it,' then I'm going to be like, 'Hey, bro, I don't know.' Maybe if you play enough reps so that you can get comfortable and we just got to see more, then that's fine, too.

"But I want the feeling around the building, because the building says it. You don't have to wonder. You can hear it. You ask the question, 'How's he doing?' [I don't want to hear], 'Well, uhhh.' I want to start to hear like, 'Oh, no, it's a different guy. He's got it figured out.' And that's what I want to hear right away."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Young below.


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