Ready or not, here comes Trey Lance

·3 min read

Trey Lance may or may not be ready to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback. He’s surely not a finished product, and given his path to the starting job that includes not playing a full season of football since 2019 at North Dakota State, his learning curve could be larger than usual for quarterbacks transitioning to the NFL. Regardless of whether he’s had enough work to ready himself for Sept. 11 in Chicago when the 49ers open their 2022 campaign, Lance is going to be the starter.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan on Friday in a conference call talked about his QB after the second-year signal caller played five series in two preseason appearances. There’ll be a handful of practices leading up to Week 1, but for the most part Shanahan knows the rest of Lance’s learning and development will have to come in the fire of live NFL regular season games.

“I would love to get Trey more practice and everything and more experience, so I would always want more of that, but we’ve run out of those games and he’s just ready to go as he can be,” Shanahan said. “He needs to get in these real games now and start playing and there’s going to be times he makes some mistakes and he has to learn from them and find a way to still win the game and overcome some of those things as he learns on the run.”

The key with Lance won’t lie in a lack of mistakes, although the club would certainly be better off if he played mistake-free out of the gate. That’s somewhere between unlikely and impossible though. The bigger deal will be whether he learns from those mistakes and ensures he doesn’t repeat them.

Improvement is the name of the game for the 49ers and their QB this season. They’ve shown over the Shanahan era that their defense and coaching staff can overcome some hiccups at QB. That’s not a consistent formula for winning though. At some point the QB has to be able to make plays. Lance will need to take the regular season reps and continue molding those into blocks he can use to build toward being a franchise quarterback.

The 49ers were able to get Lance some preseason reps, although his takeaways from that pale in comparison to his health remaining intact. Last year he broke his finger in the final preseason game and it had an adverse impact on his rookie season. Now Shanahan is glad his QB is injury-free to close out the preseason.

“I’m glad he did get some experience in this preseason,” Shanahan said. “Always wish he could have got more, but I am glad that he came out healthy this year, where last year he came out with that broken pinky that did affect him.”

A controlled environment like practice and consequence-free games are over. Whatever Lance is lacking in development will have to come in the fire of the regular season. This has been the 49ers’ plan since they selected Lance No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft. It’s as likely to be brilliant as it is to be a colossal failure. Either way the time to put that plan in motion is coming whether Lance is ready or not.

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Trey Lance's preseason is over after 3 series vs. Houston

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire