If the San Francisco 49ers' preseason finale is any indication, Trey Lance is still a work in progress.
The second-year quarterback struggled throughout Thursday night's game, completing seven of 11 passes for 49 yards while failing to lead the 49ers to a scoring drive. Lance said he's not going to allow himself to get frustrated.
"Some ups and downs, for sure," Lance told reporters. "It never feels real good to lose, but I will learn from it and turn the page. I'm not going to make a bigger deal out of it than we need to. It was definitely not our best night, but like I said, we're not going to make too big a deal out of it."
Lance finished the preseason with 141 passing yards on 11-of-16 passing and ran only two times for eight yards. The 49ers largely chose to keep him in the pocket to limit the potential punishment the dual-threat takes ahead of the regular season.
It's likely we'll see a different, more aggressive version of Lance—for better or worse—once the regular season kicks off. Lance was inconsistent during his brief appearances as a rookie, throwing for 603 yards and five touchdowns against two picks while adding 168 yards and a score in the ground game. San Francisco went 1-1 in games Lance started in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, who remains on the roster but is on the trade block.
Garoppolo's future will likely be decided before Week 1, given he's due a $24.2 million base salary to serve as a backup this season. The 49ers struggled to find a trade partner because of Garoppolo's offseason shoulder surgery and were again left with their hat in their hand when the game of QB musical chairs ended before Garoppolo gained clearance.
Lance is clearly the Week 1 starter, but it would arguably be untenable to keep Garoppolo around while fully handing the keys over to the 2021 first-round pick. Any slight struggles from Lance would likely lead to some calling for the reinsertion of the veteran, perhaps hurting Lance's confidence in the process.