Captain decision is clearest sign yet that Trey Lance is already on thin ice

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans
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On Thursday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced the team’s six captains for 2022. If there had been a seventh, it would have been quarterback Trey Lance.

Shanahan’s explanation for cutting off the captains at six was unconvincing. He initially stumbled, identifying receiver Deebo Samuel as a captain before pointing out that Samuel finished eighth in the voting, behind Lance.

“I just didn’t want to put seven on there,” Shanahan said. “Deebo was eight, that’s why I mentioned his name on accident. We just wanted to go with six. They don’t allow eight to the coin toss, I don’t believe.”

If they don’t allow eight for the coin toss, they probably don’t allow seven. And the 49ers had seven captains in 2020 and 2021.

The omission of Lance makes it much easier for the 49ers to shift to Jimmy Garoppolo, if Lance struggles. The fact that Shanahan arbitrarily chose to limit the number of captains to six when he had seven for two straight years amplifies that point.

Not all quarterbacks are natural and immediate leaders. Those that aren’t sometimes need a boost. And while Shanahan declared at the outset of camp that the 49ers are now Lance’s team, the sudden about-face on Garoppolo undermines the notion that Lance is firmly in control. The best and easiest way to counter that perception would be to make Lance a captain.

So, yes, Lance is on thin ice. He needs to perform. He needs to run the offense the way that Shanahan wants it to be run. If he doesn’t, Shanahan won’t hesitate to bench him. And the absence of a C on his jersey will make a move from Lance to Garoppolo far less awkward than it otherwise would be.

40 responses to “Captain decision is clearest sign yet that Trey Lance is already on thin ice

  1. I think bringing Jimmy G back was a bigger admission of their lack of faith in Lance. This news will be old tomorrow. Jimmy waiting in the wings is a pill they decided to swallow for the whole season.

  2. Lance needs to do his best and to let inertia take over. He can’t control Jimmy Hair’s retention. He also can’t help he was picked by an incompetent organization. Maybe Lance is no good. He needs to have that chance – after all, the Great Gimmick in Washington was given two years to prove he was really a fragile-legged running back wearing a QB Halloween costume ever Sunday.

  3. After Sunday’s game he might not even be the starter next week. Does anyone think the niners would admit to a mistake drafting this kid to begin with. My guess is NO.

  4. Won’t hesitate to bench him? He gave up a king’s ransom to draft the guy and he needs Lance to play and play well to protect his own job.

  5. Lance will have a fairly long leash. They also can’t be wrong about him. This kid needs to be able to make mistakes and learn or they wasted all those picks to take him. Can’t just put him out there on thin ice an expect him to not have some rough patches. Making too much about a meaningless position.

  6. Thought they had a Josh Allen type talent but ended up with a Mac noodles Jones!!!

  7. Kabasaman says:
    September 8, 2022 at 1:06 pm
    After Sunday’s game he might not even be the starter next week.

    You do realize that he’s playing against the Bears’ defense, right?

  8. justintuckrulelives says:
    September 8, 2022 at 1:05 pm
    Makin’ him earn it. that’s all.


    By the standard he set every other year, he was voted captain. That’s not earning it?

    Lol the 9ers never got out of Jimmy G what BB did. It’ll be the same with this guy the way they’re treating him.

  9. So hard to predict how a QB will work out. Trey might, but, if he doesn’t, 3 first round picks for him are almost at the level of Ditka trading all of his for Ricky Willaims(who had a good, not great NFL career.

    Talk about pressure!

  10. Unfortunately,after giving up 3 1st round picks for Trey Lance,Kyle Shanahan finally saw all last season…nothing more than a shotgun,throw to the first read,college spread offense QB that can’t read a defense to save his life. Trey Lance is pure athleticism from the neck down. Wonder if this will eventually cost Shanahan and Lynch their jobs?(although,I think John Lynch wanted Mack Jones)

  11. Trey was a mistake they just have to get past that starts with playing him to justify moving on!

  12. Brooooo this dude reaching’s a popularity contest no? I recall kickers as captains on a team..kid is gona do fine..I’ll be back right or wrong

  13. First of all the capt. thing doesnt mean squat. Secondly, he’s a rookie he doesn’t have to be the capitan. Jimmi G should be taking over for good about the 4 the gamed this year. Watch and see.

  14. Imagine giving up all of that draft capital to move up to take a player, and entering year 2 you arent convinced he is going to contribute. Drafting a player in round 1 that isnt a day 1 starter (with the exception of injury) immediately makes the pick a mistake. Trading a bunch of picks to move up to take a player that still hasnt convinced you he is the guy, is dereliction.

  15. Leftiesrule says:
    September 8, 2022 at 1:42 pm
    First of all the capt. thing doesnt mean squat. Secondly, he’s a rookie he doesn’t have to be the capitan. Jimmi G should be taking over for good about the 4 the gamed this year. Watch and see.
    He’s a rookie? Is he gonna be a year 2 rookie of the year candidate like Ben Simmons?

  16. Oh Please! Let the kid earn his captain badge. If he was voted captain, you would be talking about Deebo not being a captain. Shanahan does not need to hold up Trey, Trey needs to hold up Trey.

  17. It’s the generation of players where everyone gets to be captain or someone has to cry about it.

  18. If Lance busts, Kyle better hope his other picks are stellar.
    At some point he’s got to produce.

    Good OC, but not good HC/GM

  19. It’s absolutely insane all of the arm-chair GM’s that are making the comments that Trey Lance sucks. Let’s do a quick recap of the last 4yrs.. How many Pro Bowls has Jimmy made, how many times has Jimmy been included in the MVP conversation??? How many games did Jimmy play that were lights out at an all pro level Hmmm Maybe 5-6. Why is Jimmy ranked 19th out of 32 QB’s in the NFL? Why wasn’t Jimmy picked up by another team? We’ve only seen a (SMALL) Sample size of Trey and there is no denying that his UP-SIDE is much greater than Jimmy’s.

    I so can’t wait for Trey to light it up and for some of you guys to EAT CROW.

  20. Adding Jimmy as backup at 6.5M is a decision that every GM would make since he’s the best backup in the league. Got nothing to do with Lance. If Jags had picked up Jimmy would we say Lawrence is on thin ice.
    Not sticking with Lance despite his growing pains would be irresponsible having spent 3 first round picks on him.
    Don’t agree with this article at all.

  21. Yeah, put more pressure on a raw young QB that’s played about 10 meaningful snaps in the last 2 seasons. . . . . .

  22. I’m just thankful that Justin Herbert didn’t cost the Chargers three 1st round picks. The Chargers have used those two extra 1st round picks to upgrade the OL in front of him.

  23. danfl says:
    September 8, 2022 at 1:26 pm
    How many votes did Jimmy G get for captain?


  24. So the 49es getting to the NFC Championship game 2 times in 3 years means that Shanahan is on thin ice? Try Lance is terrible which is why he isn’t a team captain?

    Serious question for Seahawk fans, if the Niners are in such bad shape where does that put the Seahawks? How does Pete Carrol get a pass when he is putting Geno Smith on the field with an injured Drew Lock as backup? Or the fact that the rosters has been slowly declining with little evidence of an effort to rebuild?

  25. Lance is not a captain because he doesn’t deserve it and Deebo is not a captain because his team mates know he did not want to be with the organization but was forced to sign. When your team mates don’t respect you it speaks volumes. Clearly the Clara locker room has some issues.

  26. At some point the 49er will have to see if their huge gamble will turn out or be the biggest QB draft bust since RG3. They’re never gonna know until he starts real games with real bullets. With so few games, college and NFL, under his belt, it’s way too soon to know which. Keeping Jimmy G in the wings for only 6.5mil is way more
    reasonable than 25mil. Lynch and Shanahan have done a great job resuscitating the 49ers after the disaster that was Trent Baake and Jed York but if the Lance situation goes south on them, that is what everyone will remember.

  27. He is a RAW TALENT, what part of that do people not understand? It might not come together for him that quickly, but when you look at the team around him, flashes from his play last year, and the absolutely awful QB play of his fellow rookies, I think he’s doing just fine.
    I don’t see anyone calling for Zach Wilson or Fields’ heads yet?

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