Trey Lance offered a glimpse of what he can bring to the San Francisco 49ers offense with a gorgeous 80-yard bomb in the preseason opener versus Kansas City.
Following the up-and-down performance from the rookie signal-caller in his debut, coach Kyle Shanahan was asked during a Sunday conference call what it might take to increase Lance's reps with the first-team unit.
"I don't know. I haven't really defined that for myself either," Shanahan said, via the team's official transcript. "Just when I think it feels right, when he seems ready, when I think the team seems ready. I mean, we'll continue to mix him in there. But I don't plan on just doing that completely. But Trey, what he showed in that game is, you know, I wish I could have left them there longer. I know he enjoys playing and he's only been able to play one game in over a year, but I think it was good for him to get out. I think he started out good, got a little excited sometimes which he does. And you get a little excited, some of your technique and stuff you lose which will be fun to watch with him. Trey's a guy who's tough on himself and loves to correct things and since we've had him he's been very good at correcting mistakes."
Lance offered some sparkling throws, displaying a live arm and good accuracy. He completed just 5 of 14 passes for 128 yards, but that included several drops by his receivers. The rookie also got lucky on a few tosses that could have been picked.
The rookie also took four sacks, which Shanahan noted came from holding the ball too long.
"Yeah, I think the worst one was the one down in the red zone," the coach said. "They did an all-out blitz and we were in an empty formation and he's got to get rid of that to his hot throws. So that was the main one that was on him. On the other ones, you can always get rid of it when someone doesn't hold up in protection too long, but I think it would have been tough to, especially some of the down and distance we were in. But there was one that he definitely needed to get rid of just because of the blitz that they brought."
Jimmy Garoppolo remains the starter in San Francisco. The Niners' brass has made that abundantly clear throughout the process. But Lance showed the extraordinary dimension he can bring to Shanahan's offense -- even without designed runs. The learning curve will determine how quickly the rookie will push Jimmy G.
Lance will have two more preseason games to make his case to push for the QB1 gig, starting with Sunday's bout against the Chargers. If the rookie cleans up some of his mistakes, Shanahan could decide it's time to give him more first-team reps in the preseason finale.