9-Year 49ers Veteran Blasts Trey Lance Criticism: ‘Don’t Think People Realize’

Trey Lance

Getty Trey Lance warms up in the rain on September 11, 2022 in Chicago.

Arik Armstead clearly doesn’t want to hear any Trey Lance criticism.

On the morning of Thursday, May 25, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback received strong backing from the nine-year veteran defender during Armstead’s interview with the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. Armstead blasted critics of Lance — who’s received a heavy amount of scrutiny and criticism in an early NFL career that’s seen a season-ending injury in 2022 and a fight for playing time.

“Trey is a great player. He’s still very young; I don’t think people realize,” Armstead said to GMF.

Armstead Sympathizes With Lance in 1 Area

One common critique handed to the No. 3 pick from the 2021 NFL draft is Lance’s struggles with staying healthy.

He shared with reporters Tuesday that he had to re-learn how to grip the football following his hairline fracture injury on his right index finger in his rookie season. But Lance is additionally attempting a comeback from his broken ankle he sustained in Week 2 that robbed him of finishing out the entire 2022 season as a starter.

Armstead, though, can sympathize with Lance on the injury front.

“I’ve dealt with injuries early in my career and haven’t had that opportunity to gain that experience,” Armstead recalled. “So I think Trey is an excellent player. He’s going to continue to get better and better, and I think this offseason and this year will be huge for him to get that experience, and that’s going to make him a better quarterback moving forward.”

Armstead didn’t get the chance to start in a full regular season until the 2018 campaign. Prior to that, he played in a combined 14 games with just 10 total starts as he dealt with a hand fracture, hamstring and foot injury.

Lance is entering what’s expected to be a more competitive QB room this season — one that has last season’s big surprise Brock Purdy expected to be healthy from his elbow surgery for training camp plus now features former top-five pick from 2018 Sam Darnold. Still, Armstead is all in on Lance creating excitement for this 49ers offense in his trek to staying healthy.

“So I’m excited about what Trey can do. I think he’s an amazing player with a bright future,” Armstead said.

Is Armstead Part of Best D-Line in Football?

Armstead wasn’t just asked about the health of Lance. The veteran and captain also got asked this stirring question:

Do the 49ers boast the best defensive line in the NFL?

“Well, on paper, I guess you could say that,” Armstead began. “But ‘on paper’ doesn’t win any game. But we’re excited about getting together and starting that journey of grinding, getting together, working.”

Armstead is walking into a new-look front four that now welcomes Javon Hargrave, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell into the rotation via free agency, then Robert Beal through the draft.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice if we want to be the best,” Armstead said. “We have the guys to do it, and I think we’re going to do it, but only time will tell once we get out there on that field.”

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