The season began with a clear impression that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan would use rookie quarterback Trey Lance from time to time. It happened until it didn’t, and then Shanahan tried to act like he never created that impression. Even though he had.
On Tuesday, Shanahan was asked about the failure to use Lance for only one snap in three straight games.
“I haven’t made that decision [to not use Lance],” Shanahan told reporters. “The only time I did that really was Chicago week. Then Arizona, the game just didn’t go the way we wanted. Going into this game, we didn’t like a lot of the stuff, just matchup wise in terms of what the Rams did, so still had it it up. But we didn’t see it as changing the defense or giving us too big of an advantage, so that’s why we didn’t go with it.”
Shanahan also spoke more generally about Lance’s progression in his rookie season.
“Trey’s got the whole playbook in his head and he was able to do that in training camp,” Shanahan said. “If you work at it, you’re going to learn it all, but it’s about going through at full speed. It’s about going through it at a game-time tempo and going against the blitzes and all that stuff that can surprise you and knowing when a play is a good play and when it’s a bad play. When you’ve got to get out of something, when you got to get to the number four choice in the progression, as opposed to the one you practiced in the week. So that just comes with experience and he’s getting more and more of it and you can never get too much.”
Right, but he’s not getting much of that important experience at game-time tempo and with game-sized stakes. Which will make him less prepared in 2022 or 2023 or whenever he becomes the starter.