49ers QB depth chart clear for now

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The 49ers decided to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after the quarterback agreed to a restructured contract. Head coach Kyle Shanahan at the start of training camp declared that the 49ers were Trey Lance’s team, and he didn’t come off of that stance even after Garoppolo agreed to stick around.

Cutting a clear line between starter and backup is an important aspect of navigating this tricky situation for Shanahan. In a conference call Tuesday with reporters he was clear about he pecking order under center.

“I mean competition always pushes people. I don’t think Trey needs much pushing,” Shanahan said. “This wasn’t anything like, ‘Hey, our team has to get this or we have to do this for Trey.’ This was, ‘Oh my God, Jimmy Garoppolo is available as a backup quarterback for us.’ That makes sense for him and it makes sense for us. What else is there to think about?”

This is the correct response from Shanahan now with less than two weeks until the regular season begins. It’s clear the club doesn’t intend on working Garoppolo in as a starter right away. Garoppolo is insurance for injury and a hedge against Lance stumbling hard out of the gate. Whether the club is anticipating one or the other is moot. They had the option to brace for both, so they’re doing it.

However, while the line may be clear between starter and backup at the end of August, it’s easy to see that line blurring as the season progresses. If Lance plays well, he’ll remain the starter. If he struggles, Shanahan’s tune will surely change as the playoffs get further away and the Garoppolo train gets louder while it idles at the station.

“I think the quarterback position is really tough and no matter what, if you don’t win games that stuff’s going to come,” Shanahan said. “And yeah, if you have a guy on the bench who’s done it, yeah, that’s what the narrative’s going to be to put him in. If you have a rookie who hasn’t done it before, the narrative’s going to be to put the rookie in and see what you got. If you got a guy who’s never played before, usually the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy. No, I don’t see a difference (between this year and last year). I see different stories, but I see the same result. When you don’t play good in this league at quarterback or you don’t win games, something’s coming, it’s all pretty much at the same level.”

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire