The 49ers have observed six quarters of Trey Lance’s play. He has flashed his raw talents, but other things need to be polished. Lance’s inability to slide and his release point on his throws are two things that stood out to me. Unfortunately, his availability is now in question with a left knee sprain.
Justin Herbert appeared on the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday and talked about a couple of aspects of quarterback play that I thought Lance should take his advice on.
Patrick asked: Do you try not to run?
“I think running is an important job of the quaterback poisition and obviously not taking hits too becasue your ability is availability.
Lance taking on a big hit at the goal line was situational. Kyle Shanahan praised the Cardinals for preventing Lance from scoring. I won’t be too hard on Lance here. He was trying to get into the end zone. However, it was concerning to watch him take that hit. When Lance scrambles, he has a habit of getting down, but it’s usually head first. Shanahan has to get Lance in sliding school if he wants him to run this many times.
Here’s Herbert on sliding:
“Playing baseball growing up, its just one of those things you learn to do and definitely something you have to spend time on if you havent played baseball.”
Again, avoiding hits are essential for a quarterbacks’ shelf life. Lance has to learn how to slide immediately. It’s understood that certain situations are unavoidable when getting hit. Ultimately, you want to see a quarterback have the ability to give himself up and get down safely.
Lance also needs to improve his throwing motion. Consistency in getting the ball out clean is another element of that. Nate Tice of The Athletic Football Show spoke on the difficulties of catching a wobbly ball and what Lance can do to correct that (1:00:00 mark.)
“ Squeezing the ball too hard makes the ball waver out because its not smoothly coming out of your hand. It’s almost a misconception with throwing a spiral. You have to grip the ball less to let it smooth flip off your hand.”
Quarterback coach Rich Scangarello is a suspect. We saw the high passes in the preseason, and they haven’t gone away. Jimmy Garoppolo also struggles with high passes. Are they working on accuracy in practice?
I first mentioned Lance learning to slide in my position grades. If Lance doesn’t learn to slide, he could have an injury-riddled 49er tenure similar to Garoppolo.
Lance’s upside can’t be ignored. His ability to throw on the move was a part of my uplifting plays. Lance brings more to the offense than Garoppolo can. He should be the starter for this reason. But, if Lance can’t take care of his body, then he won’t have that opportunity.