With Trey Lance sustaining a knee injury that could keep him out 1-2 weeks, the 49ers have now seen their starting quarterbacks get hurt in back-to-back games. Also, for the second straight week, no one seems to know when the injury occurred or when they’ll be back. This is something that could only happen to the 49ers.
In a weird way, this situation has the potential to take some of the pressure to continue to play Trey Lance off of the head coach. As Matt Maiocco said last night, “Kyle Shanahan is gonna get a lot of flack if he goes back to Jimmy Garoppolo and doesn’t give Trey Lance an extended run.” With the status of Lance’s knee now up in the air for another 14 days, does that statement still apply?
On the one hand, it would be hard to argue with the idea that Jimmy Garoppolo would be healthier than Lance, more experienced in the system, and not as dependent on his legs to orchestrate the offense. Throwing a 21-year-old rookie with a banged-up knee behind a subpar offensive line isn’t exactly a recipe for success.
On the other hand, it would also be hard to argue that a 21-year-old kid can’t heal from a minor injury in two weeks. If Jimmy Garoppolo is anywhere less than 100%, he wouldn’t be able to properly protect himself from former teammate DeForest Buckner and the rest of the Colts’ defense. Throwing a hobbled quarterback with an already average arm out there with an injury he already admitted compromised his arm strength isn’t exactly a recipe for success.
Whatever he decides, Kyle Shanahan is going to face criticism for his course of action. In a weird way, however, it’s not nearly the amount of criticism he might have faced for making the same exact decision if both quarterbacks were healthy.