Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan discusses Trey Lance’s injury, too many runs, seeks less Happy Gilmore

Oct 12, 2021 at 11:43 AM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joined KNBR this morning, three days before his regularly scheduled appearance, thanks to the team breaking for its bye week this afternoon. Among the many discussion topics was his rookie quarterback, Trey Lance, who started his first NFL game this past weekend.

The outcome wasn't what the 49ers hoped. The team lost its third consecutive game, this time against the Arizona Cardinals, and fell to 2-3. However, it was a good learning experience for the young quarterback. Unfortunately, Lance didn't emerge unscathed. The quarterback sustained a left knee sprain.

The good news is that the injury doesn't appear to be a long-term issue. As Shanahan told reporters on Monday, the 49ers only expect Lance to be sidelined one or two weeks. Of course, that could impact his availability for Week 7's contest against the Indianapolis Colts.

Neither Shanahan nor Lance knows when the injury occurred. The quarterback didn't even realize he was hurt until he went to bed and noticed some discomfort after the game.

Some wonder if the injury was a result of Lance taking too many hits during the game. He ran the football 16 times and was sacked twice. However, the 49ers coach doesn't necessarily look at the number of times his quarterback takes off with the football.

"I look at it in terms of what they're doing, what makes sense to do," Shanahan explained on the Murph & Mac show. "I mean, you don't call 16 runs for [a quarterback]. A lot of the times, you call other plays that turn into a quarterback run. It's a good option for a guy that has the ability to do that.

"I'm never going to look at it as 16 is too many. If you're calling 16 just quarterback dives right into a pile of 11 guys, then I would definitely say that, but that has to do with the options, who they're playing, and when he decides to scramble, also."

There has also been some chatter that Lance's throwing motion includes a longer wind-up, which may be an advantage to opposing defenses. The rookie quarterback saw four of his passes batted down at the line of scrimmage on Sunday. Does that have anything to do with his mechanics?

"I mean, there was four of them," Shanahan said. "I don't think it's necessarily because of his delivery. I don't think tipped balls has to do with where you're looking. When a guy's not rushing, he's anticipating your throw. I thought two of them, he couldn't have controlled. And I thought two over the middle, that he could have done a better job at.

"Quarterbacks get balls tipped a lot. You always try to look into them, whether it's something you can do differently with the O-lines, something you can do differently with your eyes. I personally don't think you can change your throwing motion in the middle of something based off of someone being in front of you, so we always try to coach eyes and timing of the play."

What about Lance's wind-up, specifically? NextGen Stats has the 49ers quarterback's average time from snap to throw at 3.12 seconds. That's the slowest of any NFL quarterback this season. At 2.56 seconds, Garoppolo's release time ranks as the fourth-fastest.

Shanahan doesn't sound too concerned about Lance's number.

"Yeah, you've always got to keep working on your throwing motions and everything," Shanahan said. "I think Trey does have a quick release. A quick release isn't the issue. You want to make it as consistent as possible, not as much arm action as possible, just like a golf swing. If you get a running start, like Happy Gilmore, you might be able to hit it farther but the odds of you connecting perfectly while getting a running start are going to be like one out of 100.

"So, the more consistent, and the less movements you can have, the more consistent you'll be. But when it comes to a quick release and stuff, Trey's got a quick release. It's not as compact as Jimmy's [Garoppolo] or anything like that, but no one's really is."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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