49ers' defense hasn't allowed Trey Lance to build confidence, QB coach says

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49ers' defense hasn't allowed Lance to build confidence, coach quips originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- The good news for first-year starting quarterback Trey Lance is that he is practicing daily this summer against a defense that figures to be among the best in the NFL.

The bad news is that he is practicing daily this summer against a defense that figures to be among the best in the NFL.

“It can’t get much harder,” 49ers quarterback coach Brian Griese said about the challenge Lance faces on the team’s practice field.

“You also want to build some skills and some confidence, too,” he added with a laugh.

Lance has completed fewer than 50 percent of his pass attempts in 11-on-11 drills since camp opened last week. Lance has often found himself under pressure from the 49ers’ defensive line. And noticeable improvements at cornerback with Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley have made for tighter windows.

“He understands this is a great opportunity to grow and to do it against some of the best in the league,” Griese said of Lance.

Things have not come easy for the 49ers’ passing game. But Lance has also shown flashes of his big-play potential with his down-field passing and ability to create plays with his running skills.

Griese highlighted what he has seen from Garoppolo behind the scenes as a reason he has been “really encouraged.”

“He gives himself a chance because he shows up every single day and he’s ready to work,” Griese said. “He has a humility about him that gives him a chance to learn from his mistakes and grow.

“I’ve been really encouraged about his demeanor. That’s impressive for a young man his age. That’s not natural. The way he interacts with his team, the way he operates on the field, the way he responds when he makes a mistake. All those things are very, very positive on top of his physical abilities, which are significant.”

Lance takes over for veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this season as the team’s starting quarterback.

After being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lance finds himself as a leader of men at the age of 22.

Griese said Lance looks as if he has an innate ability to handle those big demands.

“He’s able to compartmentalize his job, his role, his understanding of mentally what he’s responsible for, collectively as a leader of the team and the offense, what he’s responsible for,” Griese said.

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Timing is an important part of a quarterback getting in sync with receivers in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Timing is also a key in navigating the different personalities, relationships, and expectations of his teammates, Griese said.

“Having the proper timing of communication when to get on somebody, when to encourage, when to slow things down, when to pick things up,” Griese said. “You really are a manager, not only of the game but of the people.

“For someone his age, he doesn’t have it down. We’re continuing to grow with that, but he has a foundation and a base that I think is really impressive.”

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