49ers calling risky Trey Lance designed run plays agitated Mike Holmgren

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Holmgren disagrees with 49ers calling risky Lance run plays originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers' coaching staff were scrutinized for dialing up designed quarterback runs for Trey Lance after the second-year quarterback suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.

Mike Holmgren, who began his NFL coaching career as a 49ers assistant under Bill Walsh, disagreed with Shanahan's plan.

"As much as they put in to work with him, make him the guy -- I would not have chosen to run with him," Holmgren said on 95.7 The Game's "Morning Roast" on Tuesday. "He’s going to make it happen naturally.

"You always run the risk of that guy getting banged up and then the worst thing could possibly happen."

Unfortunately for Lance and the 49ers, the worst-case scenario did occur. Lance was injured on a play in which the 49ers called for the quarterback to run between the tackles.

It was his third rushing attempt of the first quarter. And now that his season is over, Lance has more rushes (16) than completed passes (15) on his 2022 stat line.

Further analyzing his opinion that the 49ers mishandled Lance, Holmgren referenced his time in the Bay with Steve Young, who he also coached in college at BYU.

Young arrived to San Francisco in 1987, Holmgren's second season with the 49ers. Young started three regular-season games that year and had 14 total rushing attempts in those contests.

"He was a great runner as well as a quarterback," Holmgren said of Young. "Bill [Walsh] put in runs for him -- actual quarterback runs. And Steve would come to me in the quarterback room and say, ‘Mike, you know when you call a run for me, all it is is 12 guys meeting close to you on the sideline. I run over there, they know it's a run, we're all there, then we all go back to regular football.' "

"It was better when [Young] improvised."

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With Lance shelved, the 49ers are turning back to Jimmy Garoppolo under center, a move that produced just 10 points in the team's ugly loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

That dud of a performance had the 49ers Faithful longing for their 22-year-old franchise quarterback. Injuries are unpredictable in the NFL, but Holmgren believes the 49ers could have limited putting Lance in harm's way.

"I felt so bad when he got hurt," Holmgren said. "I don’t know the young man. I know he’s a talented guy.

"But I would not have done that."

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