Kyle Shanahan on Trey Lance’s improvement at QB

The Trey Lance development plan appears to be going well. San Francisco sat the 2021 draft’s No. 3 overall pick virtually all of last season with the goal of handing him the reins in 2022. So far they haven’t deviated much from that course.

So how is Lance’s development coming along? We ultimately won’t know until regular season games start, but head coach Kyle Shanahan offered a little bit of insight after Wednesday’s joint practice with the Vikings.

“Just being more consistent,” Shanahan said when asked what his young QB has gotten better at. “He’s gotten a little better at everything, which is what you need to do for a rookie coming in, especially the lack experience that Trey had. So you throw everything at him and sometimes he gets one down and then you go a bunch of new stuff and then that takes a step back. So that’s been the process here throughout all last year and coming into this year, just in every single area, the consistency of it, not having to take two steps back as much. As I keep saying, the more he plays, the more reps he gets, the better he’ll get.”

One early sign the plan is going well is that Shanahan doesn’t want to play Lance in the second preseason game. He’s reached a point where a handful of additional preseason reps aren’t as vital as they might’ve been at this point last year.

Despite some growth and added consistency, there are still some areas Lance needs to improve. Practice reports regularly note some accuracy issues here and there. He even pushed a couple throws high in his five attempts in the preseason opener vs. Green Bay.

Shanahan on Wednesday discussed the importance of Lance improving that area of his game.

“You always want to hit guys perfectly in stride,” Shanahan said. “It’s a little tough behind the line of scrimmage on those plays, because you have some run pass options, but I mean yeah, he’s hard on himself with it and when you get guys in space, the better you can hit them in stride, the more YAC they can get.”

That’s one area Jimmy Garoppolo excelled. Not every throw was on target, but he regularly hit his receivers in spots that allowed them to immediately get upfield and generate yards with the ball in their hands.

Ideally Lance will push the ball down the field more and eliminate the need for receivers to create yards, but that doesn’t change the need to be accurate in the short and intermediate areas where YAC is available.

Tight end George Kittle in his Wednesday press conference offered another more specific way Lance has gotten better.

“One of my first 5-yard routes (with Lance), he threw it at my head and tried to take my helmet off,” Kittle said via the Athletic. “Now he’s showing some nice touch. He’s gotten so much better than when he first got here and he’s going to continue to improve.”

Continued improvement is the theme whenever Lance’s coaches and teammates talk about him. The improvement is clear, but so is the need to continue getting better.

San Francisco’s plan involved Lance being good enough to compete in 2022, and it looks like he’s at least trending that way with less than a month until the regular season. His and the 49ers’ success this year though may depend on not on how much better he got in training camp, but how much better he continues to get throughout the year.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire