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What to make of Jeff Darlington’s report on 49ers QB Trey Lance’s first-team reps

May 31, 2023 at 11:46 AM--

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ESPN's Jeff Darlington recently appeared on the network's NFL Live show and discussed the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback situation, highlighting Trey Lance's healthy state and current workload during organized team activities (OTAs).

"Trey Lance is the guy during OTAs who's been taking all the 1st-team reps; he's healthy at this point," Darlington said, per Dov Kleiman of BroBible. "Sam Darnold really getting backup duty as he kinda gets his playbook under his belt. But for now, Trey Lance getting his opportunity with those first-team reps."

What is the takeaway from these comments? Nothing, really. We already knew Lance was receiving the bulk of the workload after OTAs kicked off last week. The 49ers started their second week of OTAs on Tuesday. While Wednesday will be the team's sixth practice, it will only be the second where reporters can observe. That is a small sample size, and we don't know what has occurred in those other practice sessions.

Lance appeared to take all of the first-team reps during last week's practice open to reporters. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was even asked about the third-year quarterback's workload and if it meant anything.

"It'll even out (between Lance and Darnold)," Shanahan said. "We'll make sure to get that right."

The coach, trying to douse water on the flames before the story got out of control, added, "And the first-team is kind of funny because there's no [offensive] line out there. Most of our receivers are second- and third-team on the first-team today, so I'm curious what everyone thinks first- and second- and third-team is."

So Darlington isn't really reporting anything we didn't already know. It makes sense for the 49ers to get a good early look at the player in which they invested several first-round draft picks, Trey Lance, first. Lance has only four NFL starts under his belt, while Darnold is more of a known commodity, having started 55 career NFL games.

Of course, that doesn't mean either quarterback is currently in the lead for that backup job behind injured quarterback Brock Purdy. Lance or Darnold could still start Week 1 if Purdy is not healthy enough to play. Late May is too early to make any concrete conclusions in what should be an intriguing quarterback competition and offseason storyline.

Purdy started some limited throwing this week, and the 49ers are encouraged by what they saw.

"He's had one (throwing) session thus far and we're incredibly encouraged by that," general manager John Lynch said Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "He's hitting all his marks and that doesn't surprise us, because he's putting in all the work."

The 49ers remain hopeful that Purdy might be ready for the start of the regular season. Until then, Lance and Darnold will split the practice reps, preparing to fill in during games if needed.

"We feel good about that position holistically," Lynch said. "We are not going to put Brock in a situation where he's not fully healed. That means not just get back, but get back and get in reps under your belt."


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