Former 49ers Safety on Trey Lance: ‘He’s Just Not There Yet’

Trey Lance

Getty Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers rookie gun-slinger, Trey Lance, had a dazzling first NFL debut after he launched a successful 80-yard rocket against the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday.

But according to former Niners safety and current football analyst, Donte Whitner, that deep pass to wideout Trent Sherfield, doesn’t mean he’s ready to take of Jimmy Garoppolo’s job at QB1.

Whitner recently joined KNBR Radio where he respectfully argued why Lance isn’t ready just yet.

“He has all the measurables, arm strength, the ability to escape the pocket, everything that you look for in a young quarterback. But what I did see in the game Saturday night was Steve Spagnuolo (Kansas City defensive coordinator) throw some veteran players out there, and kind of confuse him a little after that 80-yard touchdown.”

Whitner noted that Lance struggled to read the Chief’s defense even after Shanahan gave him all the necessary tools.

He added, “That’s why I say to everybody, yes, he has all the tools and the capabilities, but there are still veteran things out there that you have to be able to distinguish, pre-snap and even post-snap, and he’s just not there yet.”

There’s Plenty of Hope for Lance

Whitner isn’t necessarily all out on Lance not starting because we haven’t actually seen what all Lance is capable of.

When Shanahan moved nine spots up to snag Lance at third-overall in this year’s draft, he made it clear that he chose him due to his dual-threat abilities.

And we didn’t get to see that in the Niners’ loss to KC.

“A stable in Shanahan’s offense is that RPO, run-pass option, and utilizing the quarterback’s legs and getting outside the pocket,” Whitner said. “We didn’t see any of that stuff. And that’s a big part of this offense.”

Lance finished the night 5 for 14 for 128 yards. His stats could have looked better, however, his receivers dropped three passes. He was also close to throwing two interceptions and recovered his own fumble on one of his four sacks. Despite to mistakes, it seemed he had stolen the hearts of Niners fans, except for Whitner’s.

“If I’m the general manager, if I’m making the decisions, I will say that you sit him and you let him pick up the nuances of the game and don’t just throw him out there,” Whitner said.

Shanahan Isn’t in a Hurry to Start Lance Over Garoppolo

Shanahan had some positive words for Lance after the game but he and Whitner seem to agree on slowly working Lance into the starting job.

“We all know Trey has the ability to play well and do some special things,” Shanahan said after the game. “Being in practice and you saw a little bit in the game, but that’s not playing quarterback in the NFL. You’ve got to have the ability to get into the club, but it’s how you respond to adversity, how you can play over the course of a game, when you do make a mistake, can you come back and make another big play?

“I know there’s a lot of things that he’s going to already know without seeing us that he’s going to be hard on himself for and that he can get better. That’s why I’m just excited to get it going. I can’t wait for him to play in these next two.”

The Niners wrap up their preseason against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.


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