After spending the bulk of his rookie season behind Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s Trey Lance’s turn to take charge in San Francisco.
Lance admittedly struggled in his first season after not playing a ton at North Dakota State. Still, the 22-year-old quarterback boasts a devastating combination of arm strength and running ability if he can put it all together.
During the 49ers’ annual State of the Franchise event, coach Kyle Shanahan gushed about Lance’s potential.
“The biggest thing with Trey that people have to realize is he is younger,” Shanahan said, via SI.com. “He has more horsepower inside of him than I think he even knows of. Just from the whole talent, but also what he’s made of, how intelligent he is. I think he’s going to be able to overcome adversity. I do believe he’s going to handle this pressure. It’s going to be hard — that’s what the position is. And there are only so many people in this world who have the talent to be put in this spot — there might be 32 of them. aren’t 32 who have the talent and who have the stuff inside that allows you to handle that position through the ups and downs.
“I don’t care how good you are, people are going to come after you. You look at people like Peyton Manning who played so much football in his life and what he did his rookie year and how many picks he threw, he was made of the right stuff, and he was able to overcome things.”
Last season, Shanahan mostly sidestepped discussing Lance, likely to avoid putting pressure on the rookie backup quarterback. However, with Garoppolo on the way out of San Francisco, it’s Lance’s time to prove worthy of all those picks the Niners traded to secure his talents.
Lance struggled when thrust into the starting gig last season. In two games, he completed just 59.6% of his passes for 441 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and took three sacks. But there was a marked improvement from his first start in Week 5 to his second in Week 16.
With a full offseason leading the offense, Shanahan believes Lance is ready to take the next step.
“But you really don’t know until you get your ass kicked, because that’s when it starts,” Shanahan said of his entire team. “And you’re going to. It might be preseason, it might be Week 1, but it’s going to happen, and then we’ll know if you can play. How do you come to practice on Wednesday? How do you get in a position where that ain’t happening again? Some guys are like, ‘How do I avoid that?’ The guys on our team have the ability. Our quarterback has the ability. A lot of guys you don’t know about have the ability. We’re going to put them through the wringer during the season, then you find if they can do it for the long haul.”
The Niners made a big bet that Lance is one of those guys to be in San Francisco for the long haul and help them get back to winning Super Bowls. Now it’s the young QB’s chance to lead.