49ers great Joe Staley evaluates Trey Lance's 'unreal' arm talent

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Staley evaluates Lance's 'unreal' arm, areas of improvement originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

There is no debate that Trey Lance has incredible arm talent, but learning how to control it is something that Joe Staley believes is a necessity. 

The 49ers' now-retired All-Decade left tackle has kept a close eye on his former team. Staley even spent time on the field as a guest coach during joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers last week in Costa Mesa. 

"Everyone in that building, and I saw it the two days I was there, the arm talent is unreal,” Staley told Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt on the 49ers Talk podcast. “Some of the things he does naturally, especially working against his body, the mechanics, the speed at which he throws.

“I think that’s one thing he is going to have to figure out -- when to throw it 100 miles per hour and when to put a little touch on the ball. You saw that in one of the picks he had. Kind of gunned it in there a little quick and got it a little high.”

Over his 13-year career with the 49ers, Staley saw it all, including top-ranked rookie quarterbacks vying for the starting role on the team. While Staley believes Lance has the potential to have a lasting NFL career, he also knows that the future is unknown and that this is only the beginning of the rookie's journey. 

Staley remains close to several 49ers' players, coaches and staff. That includes head coach Kyle Shanahan, but Staley shared he is not privy to the team's plans for Lance in the regular season. The retired lineman sees plenty of promise in the young quarterback’s future, but through experience, knows that it could be a process. 

“You got to make sure a guy is ready,” Staley said. “I don’t care how talented a kid coming out of college is. There’s definitely a step up as far as progressions, speed, reading defenses and timing that just takes reps to get used to.” 

RELATED: Why 49ers legend Staley chose media role over coaching career

Knowing how important experience is, Shanahan has given Lance as many reps as possible in training camp and preseason action. The rookie has been under center in varying situations at practice and in the team’s two exhibition games. Lance has even shared first-team reps with Jimmy Garoppolo. 

As far as if a rookie quarterback should start in Week 1, Staley remains neutral. He has seen quarterbacks have success after learning behind a veteran for a few seasons, and others who quickly have been thrown into the fire. 

“There’s two different trains of thought,” Staley said. “[Some believe] the more reps, the more film study, the more time you get around the coaches, the better chance he has for success when he does get in there. 

“The other thought is, put him out there and have him learn on the fly. There’s success stories on both sides.”

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