Trey Lance is probably going to be fine

Trey Lance is probably going to be fine.

For all the handwringing and consternation over his readiness and inaccuracy, and for all the anticipation for his astronomically high ceiling, chances are Sunday will be relatively underwhelming for anyone living at either extreme.

Lance will very likely land somewhere in the middle of his floor and his ceiling Sunday in Chicago. There’ll be good plays and there’ll be bad plays, and the 49ers made him the starter knowing both of those scenarios were on the table.

He’s the starter because of his ability to eventually lift the ceiling of the 49ers’ offense. Just by virtue of his inexperience the absolute basement of a Lance start is lower than the absolute basement of a start by veteran Jimmy Garoppolo. However, reality, history and the small sample we have from Lance as an NFL QB indicate he won’t spend much time in that basement. History also indicates the 49ers don’t need elite QB play to win regular season games.

Bouts of inaccuracy plagued Lance last season and into this preseason. Still he completed 11-of-16 preseason throws. He also escaped pressure effectively and pushed the ball down the field. There’s some give and take between what Garoppolo was good at and what Lance is good at. Ultimately the realistic floor for Lance may be decorated differently than Garoppolo’s, but it’s not significantly lower.

Turnovers will be the No. 1 thing Lance has to avoid in Week 1. There’s reason for optimism there though considering in Lance’s 16 preseason throws, none of them were intercepted. In fact, none of them were particularly close to being intercepted. He might’ve missed a read here and there, but the result was never a throw into a defender’s chest. Lance’s tremendous football IQ should help him navigate some of the obstacles that face a starting QB in his first full-time action.

A run-heavy scheme should also help with the onus taken off the QB to make a ton of plays. There’ll be third downs to convert and red zone trips to turn into touchdowns, and those things will require Lance to make a handful of throws. He’ll miss some of them, but he’s unlikely to miss all of them.

There’s understandable trepidation from some as the 49ers move away from Garoppolo. The club’s record with him under center is very, very good. Lance should be able to clear some early hurdles though with the support of the very talented roster and coaching staff around him to at least help the team reach the baseline of success San Francisco established.

That’s looking too far ahead though. The 2022 campaign is about development for Lance which means starting at a place south of perfect. There’ll be ups. There’ll be downs. But come Monday morning, Lance will very likely be fine.


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Story originally appeared on Niners Wire