The San Francisco 49ers selected Trey Lance with the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. In doing so, the team clearly signaled that it viewed the North Dakota State University standout as a potential franchise quarterback.
In the months since then, the conversation has turned to when precisely the Niners will hand Lance the keys to the kingdom.
Obviously Jimmy Garoppolo is still around, and the front office has made it clear they’ll only trade him for one person, but it is similarly clear that everyone is excited to have Lance take over. There’s a reason why head coach Kyle Shanahan went to war with his own front office over the youngster – he has a lot of faith in him.
This week, following San Francisco’s 15-10 preseason win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Shanhan was asked point blank whether he wanted to announce a starting quarterback for the regular season.
“No, I’m not making that announcement,” Shanahan replied. “Nice try, though.”
At that point, a reporter attempted to ask the same question again – albeit using slightly different words. When is the announcement coming.
“Whenever I feel like it,” Shanahan responded, suggesting an answer will come at some point between now and Sept. 12’s season opener against the Detroit Lions.
“It’s hard for me to give a date. It’s based off when we know and when we feel like naming it. I promise it will be by that Sunday.”
Garoppolo and Lance each bring their own unique strengths and weaknesses to the table. The former got the start against LA on Sunday and led one drive that ended with a pick on a terrible pass that Brandon Aiyuk simply couldn’t bring in.
When it was all said and done Garoppolo finished 3-of-6 for 15 yards and an interception.
Lance, meanwhile, had an inconsistent effort that was eerily reminiscent of his Week 1 preseason showing – only in reverse. Unlike in his debut when he started off hot and then cooled considerably, this time the youngster got off to a horrible start and subsequently improved. He completed just one of his first six passes, recording an interception and a sack in the process. But then he finished the game completing 7-of-8 passes, ending the day with 102 total passing yards, two touchdowns, and one pick.
One week ago, Shanahan made it clear that he had one big regret as it pertained to Lance’s debut. Whether he found solace after what transpired in Week 2 is unclear.
Trey Lance’s GF knows how to make a first impression. https://t.co/V8FvncNUNp
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 23, 2021
Garoppolo recently got brutally honest about the ‘awkwardness’ that exists between him and Lance, and the last two weeks likely haven’t changed that much. Nevertheless, Shanahan must make a decision soon. The inevitable starter needs more reps with the first unit, and seeing as it is increasingly looking like it will be Lance, the rookie has to get all the practice he can.
At this point, Lance’s girlfriend seems to believe her better half will be the starter sooner rather than later. However, until an official announcement is made – nothing is for certain.
Will Shanhan name Lance the starter before the preseason ultimately wraps? Time will tell.