In a practice game against the Raiders on Sunday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan played most of his starters while Las Vegas played nearly none of theirs. It was an example of split philosophies in the NFL, with the league reducing the preseason to three games.
The result, a 34-10 win for San Francisco, was expected. What wasn’t, however, was how much rookie quarterback Trey Lance played early on in the game, rotating snaps with starter Jimmy Garoppolo. It was a true dress rehearsal, with Shanahan using Lance on running plays, just as he promised to do during training camp.
But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lance got hurt and will be out a week with a “chip” in his finger. Shanahan and the 49ers brass must be happy it wasn’t worse. (Per multiple reports, the “chip” refers to a very small bone fracture.)
Though it appeared Lance injured his throwing hand on a pass attempt, Shanahan’s unconventional QB rotation may have played a role. Lance is just now starting to become accustomed to the NFL, and it’s more difficult to feel comfortable and find a rhythm on the field if you’re rotating with another player.
Will Shanahan really continue rotating his quarterbacks in the regular season? Or is it simply a ruse to fool his opponents into preparing for it? We’ll soon find out, but Shanahan is lucky he’ll have the opportunity after his prized rookie got hurt in a practice game.