No playing time for Trey Lance

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions
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So much for the two-quarterback system in San Francisco.

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance got zero snaps on Sunday against the Eagles, despite the team’s plan to use both Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo — presumably until Lance shows that he’s ready to take over.

Coach Kyle Shanahan, who has a well-earned reputation for being meticulous and strategic, continues to create the impression that he’s guided by impulse when it comes to using Lance. After Sunday’s win, Shanahan explained that he never got the right impulse to put Lance on the field.

“I thought about it in a couple situations and stuff, but went a direction,” Shanahan told reporters after the game. “It’s kind of like any other play call.”

But is it really? Shanahan made much of the plan to use both guys. It’s a deliberate plan, not a seat-of-the-pants hunch. To never use Lance in the entire game suggests that something else is going on.

It’s hard not to wonder whether Shanahan shied away from it because of its impact on Garoppolo directly, and on the locker room indirectly. Consider this item from last week, written by our old friend Rob “Stats” Guerrera regarding a radio appearance during which Garoppolo seemed to make it clear he’s not a fan of the perpetual possibility of a temporary hook for Trey. Garoppolo referred during that interview on KNBR to the manner in which the locker room supports him.

Maybe Shanahan decided to pull the plug on the two-quarterback thing based on his own reading of the locker room. Maybe the players want to ride with Garoppolo. Maybe Shanahan has decided to do just that, until the wheels come off the Jimmy G Express.

Regardless, the failure to use Lance on Sunday was either planned or inadvertent. Shanahan had a “stuff happens” attitude toward the outcome. It could be that he knew what stuff would happen before the stuff even got started.

4 responses to “No playing time for Trey Lance

  1. Maybe Lance is not good enough yet, besides hitting a blown play by the D for a TD, to play at the expected level for Shanahan to call his plays to win.

  2. That game was a defensive slug-fest with every down being important on offense. I bet Shanahan initially planned on some Lance but saw how the game was progressing and realized he needed Jimmy’s experience on how to read defenses to win the game.

  3. 3 of the 4 rookie QBs were terrible yesterday.
    Lance is not ready.
    Wilson and Lawrence need to be benched. They are not ready.
    The Bear’s QB looked bad but we need a full game to evaluate.

  4. He’s meticulous and strategic but intuitive and adaptive too, like any good play caller or leader must be. (He’s described his play calling in similar terms; but insert Super Bowl LI joke here). Lynch and Shanahan have been around the NFL long enough to know the difficulties of transitioning away from a QB popular in the locker room, though I think some 49ers are more attached to Jim than others. We’d all like to know the thinking on the contradictory goals of developing Lance and winning now with Jim. As Steve Young said, the situation does seem a bit “fraught with terror.”

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