Ex-Super Bowl Champ With 49ers Criticizes Kyle Shanahan’s QB Plan

Kyle Shanahan

Getty Kyle Shanahan during Week 1 of the 2022 season.

Not every past member of the San Francisco 49ers agreed with Trey Lance being used as a runner.

Steve Young vocally defended head coach Kyle Shanahan on the Bay Area radio airwaves when he was asked about his thoughts of the Lance fallout. But one man who helped coach Young, plus worked on the offensive side of the football with the legendary Bill Walsh, had a different take.

Former Super Bowl Winner With 49ers Critical of Lance Usage

Mike Holmgren, who won his first Super Bowl with the 49ers in their climatic 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in 1989, spoke with 95.7 The Game’s “Morning Roast” with Bonta and Shaksy to chime in on Shanahan’s decision to use the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft as a runner on consecutive plays.

Would Holmgren, who was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the 49ers before winning Super Bowl 31 with the Green Bay Packers, have chosen to call the same thing if he were in Shanahan’s shoes? His take was far different.

“As much as they put in to work with him, make him the guy — I would not have chosen to run with him,” Holmgren said. “He’s going to make it happen naturally. You always run the risk of that guy getting banged up and then the worst thing could possibly happen.”

Now, the 49ers won’t have a healthy Lance until 2023. Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo has received a brunt of criticism for not only his dismal performance against the Denver Broncos in their 11-10 loss on Sunday, September 25, but for also taking the now infamous safety where the back of his right foot touched the back of the end zone, rewarding the Broncos with two points. Garoppolo was also criticized for an errant throw he made where Deebo Samuel had up to three Bronco defenders in close proximity, leading to an interception.

Garoppolo ended his evening with 18-of-29 passing for 211 yards, one touchdown throw but the late interception in the fourth quarter. He was also sacked four times including one behind the 5-yard line on the 49ers’ final drive.

Holmgren Goes Down Memory Lane to State Reason

Some may argue that Holmgren was the offensive coordinator for a runner the 49ers had behind center in Young. Holmgren, though, offered a different reason as to why Young’s situation was different and shared one story.

“I remember when we had Steve Young, he was a great runner as well as a quarterback,” Holmgren said of Young. “Bill [Walsh] put in runs for him — actual quarterback runs. And Steve would come to me in the quarterback room and say, ‘Mike, you know when you call a run for me, all it is is 12 guys meeting close to you on the sideline. I run over there, they know it’s a run, we’re all there, then we all go back to regular football.’ It was better when he [Young] improvised.”

In the end, Holmgren had sympathy for Lance…but again wouldn’t have ran similar plays for him.

I felt so bad when he got hurt,” Holmgren said. “I don’t know the young man. I know he’s a talented guy. But I would not have done that.”

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