D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

49ers OTAs: Trey Lance comments on offseason trade rumors; Shanahan on QB getting first-team reps

May 23, 2023 at 3:42 PM--

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has been pleased with what he's seen from Trey Lance during these first two organized team activities (OTAs) practices. The third-year quarterback entered last season as the team's starting quarterback. An ankle injury during Week 2 ended that.

Now fully recovered, Lance is looking to prove himself to his coaches. The former No. 3 overall pick has taken all of the first-team reps during these two practices. However, Shanahan warns not to read too much into that.

"It'll even out," Shanahan said. "We'll make sure to get that right."

A reporter was already asking another question when Shanahan interrupted him to clear up a potential misconception about "first-team reps."

"And the first-team is kind of funny because there's no [offensive] line out there," Shanahan said. "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."

Sam Darnold was asked about the apparent practice pecking order.

"I think for me it's cliché, but [I'm] focusing one day at a time," Darnold told reporters. "I think that's the biggest thing for me. Whether it's first-team reps or second-team reps, they're reps, and it's just being able to be dialed in every single play and just compete. I think that's the biggest thing, is competing, and whether it's first-team or second-team reps, I'm ready to go."

Reporters noticed that Lance's mechanics looked improved. His footwork seemed better, and his throwing motion looked tighter. With Brock Purdy sidelined, recovering from his March 10 surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear in his right elbow, Lance is expected to split reps with Darnold.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch declared, all things being equal, Purdy as the "leader in the clubhouse" to be the team's starting quarterback. So what does Lance think about those comments?

"My opportunity is just to come in to compete, and that's all I wanted," Lance told reporters on Tuesday. "So for me, I don't want to take anything away from Brock, and no one should be able to take anything away from Brock. He did what he did last year, and he deserves all the credit in the world for it. Like I said, for me, I just wanted an opportunity to compete."

Heading into the draft, there were rumors that the 49ers might try to trade Lance and recoup some of the hefty draft capital they spent to select him in 2021. The third-year quarterback didn't put much stock in those rumors.

"I knew where I wanted to be," Lance said. "Even going back, like I said last year, I just want the opportunity to compete. For me, I love it here. I love the coaching staff. I love working with [quarterback coaches Brian] Griese and Klay [Kubiak], and now Klint [Kubiak] as well. I love the quarterback room, love the guys in the locker room.

"No doubt for me—this is absolutely where I want to be."

How is Lance feeling after that season-ending ankle injury, which required two surgeries?

"It feels like it's been a long process," Lance shared. "I do want to say thank you to Mike Sola, especially. He was the [physical therapist] that I worked with throughout this whole time. We spent a lot of time together, a lot of time with him rubbing my feet and ankles. So super thankful for that, for him, and his willingness to take weekends, travel, whatever it was with me.

"But I feel like I'm in a really good spot. I honestly don't even feel it or think about it. I'm sure there'll be something as the season comes up. Not anything bad or anything like that, but there can be things that happen. Not missing time or anything, but soreness and things like that. So just continuing to work through it and learn as I go, figure out what works best."

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