49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance Aren't Involved in QB Battle, Kyle Shanahan Says

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 30, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Green Bay Packers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Even after the San Francisco 49ers suffered their first loss of the season Sunday night, head coach Kyle Shanahan clarified there is no quarterback controversy between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance.

"There's not a quarterback battle right now," Shanahan told reporters Wednesday. 

Anthony Flores @AnthonyTVSports

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KyleShanahan?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KyleShanahan</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> QB situation - "There's not a <br>quarterback battle right now." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/nbcbayarea?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nbcbayarea</a> <a href="https://t.co/79GoAynWUw">pic.twitter.com/79GoAynWUw</a>

Garoppolo has 760 passing yards on the season with four touchdowns and one interception, although questions arose after the 30-28 Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. It still doesn't mean Lance will take over any time soon.

"Trey's our backup quarterback," Shanahan said. "This isn't the preseason. We're not just going back and forth all the time."

Though the starter is clear, the 49ers have briefly rotated Lance into games. The 2021 No. 3 overall pick played four snaps in Week 1 before playing three snaps against the Packers, per Pro Football Reference.

He has been productive in the limited playing time, throwing one touchdown pass while rushing for another.

Shanahan still believes it's better for Lance to be eased into NFL action, with Garoppolo's playing well enough to keep the rookie off the field.

"I'm happy that he is, so Trey is not thrown into any situations he has to do too early," the coach said. "If he ever is thrown into that, then I know Trey will deal with that and he'll get better as it goes, but we have a luxury where we don't have to do that yet to Trey or to our team."

It is seemingly a good strategy considering how much rookie quarterbacks around the league have struggled this season. 

Fellow first-round picks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones have combined to make 10 starts this year and their teams are 1-9 in those games. The only win was Jones' start for the New England Patriots against Wilson and the New York Jets.

The four players have a combined nine touchdown passes and 18 interceptions.

San Francisco will happily stay patient with Lance as Garoppolo remains QB1 on the depth chart.