Just days from now, the San Francisco 49ers will take the field for their first game of the regular season against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Many are optimistic about Lance’s ability to help the 49ers be a Super Bowl contender, but naturally, there are questions about him.
If he goes through a particularly rough stretch, there is at least a possibility that head coach Kyle Shanahan would bench him, although it would likely only be temporary.
Peter King of Pro Football Talk, however, predicted that Garoppolo will become San Francisco’s starter again by Week 7.
“QB changes: Kenny Pickett for Mitchell Trubisky in mid-October, Drew Lock yo-yos with Geno Smith starting in late October, Jimmy Garoppolo for Trey Lance prior to facing Kansas City in week seven, Desmond Ridder for Marcus Mariota in November, Tyrod Taylor for Daniel Jones in December,” King wrote on Monday.
It’s premature to make an exact prediction on how Lance will do this season, but it is certainly conceivable that he could relinquish his starting job at some point.
Lance Has Potential, But He’s Inexperienced
In two preseason games, as well as his limited playing time in 2021, Lance has shown at least some ability to connect on the long ball, something Garoppolo doesn’t have in his toolkit.
Trey Lance plays meaningful football again in 7 days🔥 pic.twitter.com/tdMYgD9Y6T
— Imagidadnation (@imagidadnation) September 4, 2022
Lance’s best attribute is his size and athleticism, which he can use to escape the pocket and gain yards with his feet in order to turn nothing into something.
However, he has a relative lack of football experience.
At North Dakota State University, he played a total of just 19 games in three seasons, 16 of them coming as a sophomore.
He appeared in only two contests during his freshman year, and his junior season was almost completely wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a sophomore, Lance did do extremely well, posting 2,786 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns (and no interceptions), 1,100 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.
#ThisDayInNDSUHistory: August 31, 2019. In front of a crowd of nearly 35,000 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Trey Lance makes his debut as NDSU’s starting quarterback. He accounts for six total touchdowns in a 57-10 rout of Butler. pic.twitter.com/0b4WDy6SFt
— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) August 31, 2022
The caveat is that he did all that in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), which doesn’t quite offer the same level of competition as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which is the one we’re used to when it comes to college football.
No matter how well Lance does this year, he is bound to have his growing pains, and the Niners have ensured a soft safety net for him by retaining Garoppolo as his backup.
It’s just about the best way things could’ve turned out for them these last several months.
This Is The Time To Turn Things Over
There are still a few people, such as former star QB Brett Favre, who think San Francisco made a mistake by handing the keys to Lance.
But with a young core that has everything else needed to contend for a world championship, this is the time to do it.
There is a saying that no one is ever fully ready to take on a bold initiative, and it’s certainly true for Lance.
But the 49ers have done just about all they could’ve to give him his best shot at success right away.