Trey Lance was deemed the 49ers’ savior when the team drafted him third overall in 2021. But two seasons and only four starts later, Lance no longer is San Francisco’s quarterback of the present or the future.
Lance doesn’t sound like he has lost confidence, and after some time working with private quarterbacks coach Jeff Christensen, Lance could have a new leash on his career.
Christensen said the breakthrough for Lance came during work with Patrick Mahomes.
“I said, ‘Watch this. Watch what he does here,’” Christensen told Matt Barrows of TheAthletic.com. “It was something I was telling him to do that he wasn’t quite doing, and then he saw Patrick apply it perfectly. And I think that visual buy-in, that mental buy-in, helped him past that mental hump.”
“And to his credit he just kept getting better. [Over] the last seven days, every day was a substantial jump.”
Injuries have affected Lance’s development. He had a broken right index finger in the team’s preseason finale in 2021, and a fractured ankle in the first quarter of Week 2 last season.
Lance now is fully healed and retooled his throwing motion in work with Christensen, which has eliminated Lance’s ongoing arm soreness. Christensen said it took him four days to diagnose Lance’s throwing issues.
“It’s a different feeling, and it can be kind of weird,” Christensen said of Lance’s revamped throwing motion. “And it can be kind of scary. And so it’s a whole different feeling when the ball leaves your finger. To his credit, he slowly kept applying and kept believing.”
Brock Purdy is the starter when he returns from rehabbing his elbow after surgery, but until Purdy gets back, Lance will have time to show that he’s a different — and better — quarterback. Maybe he gets a shot to start somewhere else, but considering the 49ers started three quarterbacks last season, maybe the 49ers will need him this season after all.