The Niners wanted an upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo and that was the best way they felt they could do it. However, whether or not he will be ready to start Week 1 remains to be seen.
But one high-profile analyst, Mike Garofolo of NFL Network, thoroughly believes we’ll be seeing Lance come off the bench at some point this season and that the Niners have a real shot with the rookie QB leading the pack.
“I do believe, at some point, we’re going to see Trey Lance this upcoming season because everything that I’ve heard in the spring is how impressive he’s been, Garofolo said via 49ers Webzone. Now, if they’re competing, we’re assuming that means Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well. But just look for Trey Lance.”
He added “I know we talked about he needs some time to sit and watch, and the thought is maybe he’d have a redshirt season. I’m not so sure, and I’m not so sure that doesn’t mean that they can’t compete with Trey Lance.”
Jimmy G.’s injury track record isn’t the best, so it would make sense that we see Lance stepping in this season for a “fallen” Garoppolo.
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Shanahan Isn’t Opposed to Starting Lance
Head coach Kyle Shanahan can repeatedly say that Garoppolo will be the starter next season, but nobody seems to be completely sold on it yet, not even Shanahan.
“I definitely see it as Jimmy’s the starter,” Shanahan told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, “But if Trey’s ready to compete, I have no problem with it. I don’t sit there and say, ‘Hey, we’re not playing a rookie quarterback. We have to rest him the first year.’ … I don’t really make any decisions like that until I actually have an opinion on it. And that’ll take to how I see him in camp. If he comes in and he’s playing at a high level and we think he gives us the best chance to win, we wouldn’t hesitate to do that.”
Shanahan noted that it’s hard for any rookie quarterback to stand out over a veteran like Garoppolo, but added that he “has no problem” with Lance starting if that’s how it ends up being.
Lance Is a Dual-Threat, Something Garoppolo Isn’t
The QB position is changing rapidly and no longer are the strictly pocket passers considered the most elite, but now the ones who can throw on the run while under pressure are on top.
Lance played just one game during the 2020 COVID-19 season, he managed to make a name for himself in 2019, which ultimately kept him in the QB rankings.
That year, he threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and no interceptions, while also rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. His athleticism and ability to be a dual-threat is what stood out to Shanahan and the reason they traded up to No. 3 overall.
The 49ers spent OTA’s working solely on Lance’s mechanics and plan to “unleash” his full potential once training camp hits.
If Garoppolo wants to keep his starting job, let’s hope he’s been working on his speed.