Niners Name Starting QB After Long Offseason Battle: Report

49ers starting qb

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers.

Following weeks of heated competition on the field and swirling speculation off of it, the San Francisco 49ers have landed on a starting quarterback.

B/R Gridiron, which serves as the football-focused Instagram account for the website Bleacher Report, posted the results of the QB battle online Wednesday morning, September 8 — just one day before the first NFL regular season game of the 2021-22 season kicks off.

“Jimmy G is listed as the Niners’ starting quarterback on their unofficial depth chart for Week 1,” the B/R Gridiron post caption read. “Trey Lance could see the field in certain packages.”

While the unofficial depth chart has had Garoppolo listed as QB1 since the roster was reduced to the initial 53-player list on the final day of August, the veteran himself confirmed the decision just hours after Bleacher Report released its post.

“I told you guys a long time ago I had a pretty good feeling about it. I always kind of knew where I stood and everything,” Garoppolo told media members at a press conference Wednesday. “Now it’s official, I guess.”

Garoppolo’s Starting Status Grew Precarious in Recent Weeks

Jimmy Garoppolo

GettyJimmy Garoppolo, of the San Francisco 49ers.

Of all the news swirling around the Niners in the weeks leading up to the team’s own regular season opener against the Lions in Detroit on September 12, the most talked about topic has been the battle for the starting quarterback position between Lance and Garoppolo.

After trading away three first-round picks, among other assets, to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 in this year’s NFL draft in order to select Lance, head coach Kyle Shanahan and Niners general manager John Lynch initially stood firmly behind repeated declarations that Garoppolo would kick the year off as the starter.

However, that language has gradually shifted over the course of training camp and throughout the team’s three preseason games as Lance frequently outplayed Garoppolo during practice sessions.

The first change in the conversation came when Shanahan said Lance would play significant snaps in Week 1, though that did not mean he would be the starter.

The next update noted that there would be something of a two-quarterback system in place, though indications pointed to Garoppolo as the primary signal caller with Lance serving as a supplemental quarterback of sorts.

Then, in late August, Shanahan decided to go cryptic with the media, refusing to officially name a starter but hinting that he was close to a decision — one he claimed weeks before had already been made in favor of Garoppolo.

“I got a pretty good idea,” the head coach said of who would be the starter come Week 1. “But as you guys can see with everything, I don’t know our schedule a couple of days from now. I’ve always had a pretty good idea, but there is lots of days between now and then at every position.”

Lance Injury Could Have Played Role in Week 1 Decision

Trey Lance

GettyTrey Lance, of the San Francisco 49ers, works out during training camp at SAP Performance Facility on July 28, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Shanahan told media members via a conference call on August 30 that Lance had suffered an injury to his throwing hand, which would sideline the young QB for at least a week.

Lance suffered the injury during the Niners’ final preseason game on Sunday, August 29, which ended in a 34-10 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Considering Lance’s current injury, and Garoppolo’s injury-prone status throughout his time in San Francisco, carrying a third quarterback might be a productive use of one of the Niners’ 53 roster spots. That is especially true considering both QBs are expected to play meaningful snaps in every game, which drives up the potential that both could be hurt in the span of one contest.

However, the team decided to demote third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld to the practice squad. He is unlikely to be a part of the active roster when the team travels to Detroit this weekend.

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