San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ Trey Lance gets his first rep with starting O-Line, but there’s a catch

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has said that he has no plans to split quarterback reps between incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance. On Tuesday, he stayed true to his word.

But he did give Lance his first snap with the 49ers’ first-team offensive line. Interestingly, it was on a run play, one which Shanahan said will only be called with Lance in the game.

That’s right: Shanahan has a Trey Lance package of plays in the works.

Here are more details and a quote from the coach, courtesy of The Athletic’s David Lombardi, who pointed out that Lance was 13-for-14 passing on Tuesday with the second-team offense.

Shanahan also continued calling an inordinate amount of running plays for Lance. Tuesday marked a new high-water mark in that regard, as Lance ran eight read-options and scrambled downfield once.

One of the designed runs saw Lance take his first-ever rep with the 49ers’ first-team offensive line.

“We have a seven-day install,” Shanahan said. “A certain play that went in today (for which) we wanted all the lines to get reps, and we’re only going to do that play with Trey.”

David Lombardi/The Athletic

It’s now clear that while Shanahan plans to ease Lance onto the field, part of his method includes specialty packages on offense that allow Lance to use his athleticism. It could get Lance on the field faster, and could help erase any anxiety Lance has on the sidelines, if he has any.

Lance has looked so good to 49ers observers, however, that he might take the starting spot altogether at some point in 2021. Read-option plays are effective, but it’s risky to put Lance in a position that allows the defense to tee off on him. I’d stay away from this almost entirely.

And that’s probably Shanahan’s plan — to use Lance as a runner sparingly. (Very sparingly is probably best.) We’ll have a more clear idea about that soon, as training camp continues into the preseason.

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