How Trey Lance can adjust NFL run game to avoid hits in Steve Young's eyes

·3 min read

Why Steve Young believes Lance's run style needs adjustments originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Trey Lance got a rude awakening in his first game as QB1 during the 49ers’ Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears last Sunday.

After taking several hits in the sloppy loss at Soldier Field, Lance and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan both thought he did a good job protecting himself.

But Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and 49ers legend Steve Young noticed a few areas where Lance can improve and, more importantly, a fact that the second-year QB needs to accept.

“Trey was bigger and stronger than everybody he played at North Dakota State," Young said on KNBR this week. "He was faster, so he was like, ‘Why would I worry about anything, just run around and run over people and just stiff arm the defensive tackle and throw the ball.’ And you could see that. You could see that he doesn’t understand that these guys are faster, that they are bigger, and they’re going to get you.

“To me, that was the most important thing about the first game is you start to get metered. Like, ‘Oh man, these guys are fast. Man, these guys are big!’ and now you got to change your game because your game is not a college game.”

Lance quickly learned that one of the biggest differences between playing in college vs. in the pros is that defenders are much “biggest, faster and stronger” than him and catch up quickly.

He acknowledged that it’s important for him to learn how to protect himself and stay healthy as the 49ers’ new QB1.

Still, Lance refuses to go down against a defender via slide, and he made it clear that he’d rather push through for the extra yards than just give up on the play.

Young wasn’t the only one who observed Lance’s running style and offered their two cents.

Bears young QB Justin Fields said he needs to have a talk with his friend after witnessing him take too many hits during Sunday’s game.

“I got to talk to my boy, Trey. I think he was taking too many hits out there,” Fields said earlier this week. “I try to not take hits at all, to be honest with you unless the game’s on the line … That’s really the only time I’m taking a hit. Other than that I’m pretty much going to slide.”

He won’t slide, but he wants to stay healthy.

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And as the season progresses, he’ll have to work with Shanahan and the 49ers to find a way to do both successfully.

“He needs to figure out how to get the yards, be dynamic, make defenses pay, then don’t let them get you in the end,” Young said. “Don’t act like you’re bigger than everybody, you’re not anymore. You used to be, not anymore. Now you’ve got to act accordingly. What I don’t want to have him do is get hurt because he’s trying to be Superman. I know this feeling.

“You got your high draft pick, you want to be Superman. And you want to show your teammates that you’re tough and you’ll go anywhere to help get this done. And you want to show it. You don’t want to come up short, you don’t want to slide, you don’t want to get out of bounds, that’s the last thing on your mind. Then you get punched in the face a few times and you say you need to be a little smarter. And that’s the process he’s going through.”

With just one game under his belt as the official starter, Lance will learn many lessons as the season continues. But it's how those lessons are applied on the field that will reflect on Lance's true dual-threat capabilities.

And that could come as soon as Sunday's Week 2 clash vs. the Seattle Seahawks in the 49ers' home opener at Levi's Stadium.

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