Kyle Shanahan seems surprised that anyone expected a two-quarterback system

Las Vegas Raiders v San Francisco 49ers
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49ers coach Kyle Shanahan continues to be all over the place when it comes to his quarterback plan.

After creating the clear impression in the preseason that the team would use both Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance, the 49ers have largely utilized one quarterback. On Wednesday, Shanahan suggested that people misinterpreted his apparent intentions.

“Trey’s our backup quarterback,” Shanahan told reporters. “This isn’t the preseason. We’re not just going back and forth all the time. Trey goes in for specific plays or things we want to do. Trey week in and week out, he gets better each week the more reps he gets on scout team. But there’s not a big decision going into that each week. We put in a game plan for our starting quarterback, the backup needs to be able to do all of that if he gets hurt. And what’s cool about Trey is because of his different skillset we always keep him alive with a couple of plays on situations.”

Shanahan was asked why he changed his mind on using both quarterbacks more extensively.

“I didn’t change my mind,” Shanahan insisted. “We have put him on the field. We do it in situations. You can go with whatever you want what I say in training camp and you can expand on that or not. But I think I was asked coming off the field of our third game if we’d see this in the regular season, I said, ‘Probably not.’ So, I think a lot of words have been put in my mouth with some of that stuff or exaggerated pretty big. So, I pretty much keep it pretty real to everyone, but I don’t just tell everyone the answer. I have no problem with you guys overdoing that and Detroit working on that extremely hard. But I’ve been pretty consistent with what I’ve said.”

So why did Shanahan use both quarterbacks in the preseason finale?

“I mean, it was preseason, it was fun to do, but it has to do with the team we’re playing the next week,” Shanahan said. “It doesn’t have to do with the reactions. It has to do with how people prepare for people.”

Regardless of whether any of that makes sense (I’m not sure it does), here’s my take. Garoppolo didn’t like the two-quarterback thing, and he made that clear. Also, and more importantly, he has the locker room behind him — in large part because Lance hasn’t performed well enough to win over the veterans.

And so the 49ers have decided to ride with Garoppolo until he gets injured. If he does, Lance provides a much better alternative than the backups from past years.

If Lance had developed more quickly — if he’d won over the rest of the team — he’d be playing. But the locker room wasn’t ready for less Jimmy, and Shanahan wisely has made decisions consistent with what the players want.

20 responses to “Kyle Shanahan seems surprised that anyone expected a two-quarterback system

  1. I don’t see why an explanation is needed. The 49ers, with a healthy Bosa, are contenders. You play the best QB. Kyle Shanahan doesn’t find it necessary to lay out all his plans ahead of time for public consumption. That’s pretty smart, if you ask me. Do you think he’s going to tip us off when he’s going to try an onside kick? If you want to know what Kyle’s going to do, buy a ticket.

  2. A prominent pigskin data website ranks Jim fourth in risky throws and dead last in big boy completions, so expect the clamoring for Master Lance to intensify in coming weeks.

  3. HMM, a guy with barely any college experience or one with real NFL game experience…
    NO Dilemma there!

  4. You mean, it’s not just a new reality others want to create for Rodgers, they want to create new realities for Shanahan too! Call me shocked.

  5. Wisely making decisions that are consistent with what gives you the best chance at winning is what you meant? If it was ever about what the players want, then that philosophy would most times be antithetical to what is in the best interest of the organization.

  6. To be fair though, they really did need all the gamesmanship they could have mustered to beat the Lions.

  7. Without media, there’s no fans. Without fans, you don’t have a job. Be good to the media – it’s not hard. And these are simple, reasonable questions to be getting such pompous, callous answers.

  8. It’s making sense now that Lynch traded the farm for a pick instead of a specific player he had in mind. A good GM gets his guy but the Niners didn’t even know who they were going to take until they were on the clock.

  9. Can someone please explain why the 49ers traded everything they did to draft a kid who’s played like 11 games since high school and isnt probably even gonna be the starter for atleast two years??

    Wouldn’t the smarter play to have been to keep their picks and draft players that can help the team win since they seem intent on starting Jimmy anyway?

    I just don’t get it. I feel like they put trey in the same position rg3 was in. The front office wanted it and the coach didn’t and now they they traded a bunch of assets so the kid has to be good or he’s gonna get killed in the media. It just seems unfair to the kid.

    It made sense for the chiefs to move up to 12 or whatever and not give up that much knowing malhomie would be a back up for a year. But they didn’t give up nearly what SF did and malhomie didn’t have near the pressure to be good or a qb in front of him that just went to the Superbowl.

  10. Smoke and mirrors. When push and shove come together, Shanahan is going to try to cement his Hall of Fame resume with a SB win on the back of an innovative 2 QB attack he busts out without putting too much on tape. The idea it’s a good thing to spoil surprises early in the season so people can prepare for it is nonsense. See Cat, Wild.

  11. 6 touches ths season and 2 TD’s.. That’s not ready? I think Trey is equally capable of spinning around and throwing the ball to the ground for a fumble as Jimmy did last Sunday.. Kyle can design a play but he is lost assessing personnel..

  12. Creating a controversy where there isn’t one. He said something to the effect of “Trey’s gonna play this season,” and everybody else interpreted that as “OH, they’re gonna play a 2 quarterback system this year.” No, it just means he’s gonna play, and he has.

  13. SF wins ceiling is 9 or 10 if they start Jimmy all year. His skillset is closer to backup than starter and that division is too tough

  14. Kyle is tricking everybody with his 4-D QB chess! They will dominate the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl… then they will lose when the other team comes from behind while they “protect” their lead – because this is what Kyle does every time.

  15. C’mon man.Running a few gadget plays in goal line or short yardage does not make Trey Lance “ready”to start NFL games.Same reason Taysom Hill is not starting in NO.It works for the situation but isn’t sustainable for 60 minutes.
    It does give him experience and can only help in the long run but it is not his time yet.
    Not sure why the media thinks that coaches owe them and the public straight answers to questions?I wouldn’t give anything up related to playing time,game plan or other information either.The only reason injuries are even reported today is because of the billions of dollars being bet every week.This drives viewers to watch and the NFL is smart enough to know hiding injuries would negatively impact betting.
    There is no harm in asking but please stop complaining when you do not get an honest answer.There is no obligation for the truth to be told.At the end of the day most media put out their spin on everything anyway.True or not

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