Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance hasn’t been playing to keep offense, play-calling in rhythm

San Francisco 49ers v Jacksonville Jaguars
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In the first few weeks of the season, the 49ers used some different packages to get No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance on the field, particularly when the offense was close to the goal-line.

But since returning from the knee injury suffered in his first start against the Cardinals back on Oct. 10, Lance has solely been on clipboard duty as a backup. He’s only seen the field for the last five snaps of San Francisco’s 30-10 blowout victory over Jacksonville in Week 11.

Why the change? Head coach Kyle Shanahan said it has to do with his play-calling.

It’s more about me, to tell you the truth,” Shanahan said Monday, via Jennifer Lee Chan of “In terms of calling plays, we get into a rhythm of attacking a defense and what fronts they are playing and what coverages. Every play kind of plays off the next play and you get a feel, our players do and I, of what we are going to.”

Shanahan added that bringing in Lance also makes defenses less predictable because of how they adjust to a different QB.

“What’s been hard on me, that I didn’t realize, is when you do bring in a different quarterback who gets a different set of plays, it’s almost the first play I’ve been seeing of a new defense,” Shanahan said. “You see what fronts and coverages they are doing but they are doing it completely to a plan as a threat of the runner at that position.

“I don’t know what to anticipate with it, and then I got to stay in it for a while to get a feel for that. And then you go back and that feels kind of off for the last guy, so it kind of hurts my rhythm a little bit of understanding what a defense is getting. That’s why personally as the year has gone I’ve gotten a little more away from it because I like to get a feel for what the defense is doing.”

The 49ers have won their last three games and four of their last five to get to 6-5. With the offense rolling with Jimmy Garoppolo, it seems like there’s little reason to change things up by inserting Lance.

Still, the 49ers traded up to draft Lance for a reason. Sooner or later — and right now it seems like later — lance will get more opportunities to show what he can do.

14 responses to “Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance hasn’t been playing to keep offense, play-calling in rhythm

  1. The plan all along was for Lance to redshirt his first year. They’ve been consistent in that regard. They had some red zone plays specifically designed with Lance in mind, however Jimmy G’s offense has the 49ers scoring a whopping 78% of the time when in the red zone; which to me is the biggest surprise other than Elijah Mitchell.

  2. Huge overreach by the Niners giving up all that draft capital for an unproven player who played against the lower rung of college competition as well as played only one game last year. I think what Kyle is trying to say in a nice way is that Tre isn’t even close to comprehending his offensive scheme. Lance’s throwing mechanics and footwork are just awful. That’s why he is grossly inaccurate with his passes. It’s easy to get a guy up to speed with the playbook. Footwork can be improved but bad throwing mechanics are tough to fix. Just ask those who tried to fix Blake Bortles another #3 overall pick. Good luck Niners but I think you drafted a RB to play QB. Ouch!!!

  3. Trey Lance hasn’t been playing because he’s terrible. He’s lost out there. And I’m a 49er fan and a believer in Kyle Shanahan.

    Lynch and Shanahan knew they had an injury prone qb in Garappolo. They traded all the way up to #3 because they thought he would be ready for this year.

  4. So, in other words, opposing defensive coordinators are better prepared for your second string quarterback than your own staff.

  5. No one who evaluated Lance thought he was ready to play this year or probably even next. I am sure both life time vets of the NFL like Lynch and Shanahan understand the jump this kid is making. The only people who don’t understand this is the media and casual fans. You don’t play a baker’s dozen worth of games at a small time conference then jump in vs NFL players.

  6. @76raiders

    Disagree completely on not easy to fix bad throwing mechanics. Josh Allen is a perfect example; horrible throwing mechanics in college and first 2 years, but he worked hard and had great teachers.
    If Lance works hard and is dedicated, he has the tools needed to fix that.

  7. @BuckyBadger

    Again, they knew they had an injury prone qb in Garappolo. Why would you mortgage the future for a qb that is 3 years away from starting?

    They could have drafted Jamaarr Chase, Patrick Surtain, Jaylen Waddle, Penei Sewell, even Mac Jones. Those are all superstars in the making and positions of need.

    There will be a Trey Lance available in every draft.

  8. @sweetzinger, Why mortgage the future on a future QB? He was drafted on pure potential and the 49ers where not the only ones thinking this. You don’t trade up for WRs or CBs but for franchise changing players and those are QBs. They might have missed but they he was drafted because he is a physical specimen they think they can mold. Not someone they wanted to win now with. Lance is the future in SF. Just not right now.

    Jimmy G is an above average starter. Injuries happen and you don’t have a better option. They missed on Jones as many did. No there isn’t a Lance in every draft if you believe in his measurables and think he is special.

  9. The niners could have and should have drafted Mac Jones. A safe and sure pick. The Trey Lance draft gamble may never pay off and may get Shanahan fired.

  10. To Juice, not sure what film you’ve been looking at but Josh Allen has always had good throwing mechanics. He worked diligently to improve his footwork, which helped with his accuracy. He worked hard on getting the ball out faster so he didn’t have to take unnecessary sacks. But as far as as throwing mechanics, he was head and shoulders above Lance coming out of college. Not even a debate. And his throwing motion looks about the same now as it did in college.

  11. QB’s have more success running when the defense has to respect the throw. And, QB’s have more success throwing if the defense has to protect against the run. Mike Shanahan took over the coaching duties of Steve Young after he had played a few years and had a few different coaches, but Mike is the one who took Steve and helped him put it all together. I’m not at all comparing Lance to Steve Young, but Kyle Shanahan should eventually be able to get the most out of Lance. It’s most likely going to happen if he learns to be a threat passing. That’s a work in progress, and you really need to get on the field to grow into it. Need to be patient here. Unless Garoppolo gets injured, it might be a while.

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