Trey Lance Had 'Some Good and Some Bad' in Preseason Debut, Says 49ers' Kyle Shanahan

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 15, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

It's clear Trey Lance still has some work to do if he's going to supplant Jimmy Garoppolo as the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback.

While Lance pulled off a spectacular 80-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield, it was one of just five passes he completed on 14 attempts in the 49ers' 19-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.

"There was some good and some bad. By no means was it perfect," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "There were a couple of spots that you'd like him to go to different places. Sometimes, a couple of balls that sailed on him that I think he'd like to have back. But he also came out pretty good too, making the right plays, getting in the right spots. We had a couple of drops there especially on a third down that he could have kept the drive going if we had caught it. But it was a good first day. I didn't want it to go perfect for him. I'd like some things that he could learn from. And there will be a lot of things that we can go over tomorrow."

It's worth noting that Lance played most of the game behind the second-team offensive line, but he clearly struggled with the pace of NFL action. He was sacked four times and didn't break the pocket to scramble for any yards, a surprise given his dual-threat capabilities.

The 49ers sent their next two first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to trade up for Lance, which made many hopeful he'd be under center for Week 1. That has never been the expectation in San Francisco, with Shanahan consistently maintaining that Garoppolo is the starter for this season.

Performances like Lance's preseason opener show that may be the smart long-term move. Lance played at an FCS school (North Dakota State) where he was surrounded by the best talent that level had to offer. The game he played was significantly slower than the NFL, even playing against second-stringers. He's going to take more time than Trevor Lawrence or perhaps even Justin Fields to develop.

There's nothing to worry about given this is preseason and nothing counts. That said, it may be best to allow Shanahan to coach Lance slowly rather than pressuring the team to kick Garoppolo to the curb.