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49ers in Five: Shanahan says Trey Lance was ‘ready to take off’ after Cardinals game

Would Lance already be the starter if he didn’t get hurt?

Everything you need to know in five minutes

After hearing the early part of Kyle Shanahan’s press conference yesterday, I wanted to rip my hair out. However, by the end of it, I came away thinking that it might not be time to cut bait on the 49ers’ head coach totally.

This is the comment from Kyle that made my blood boil:

“We didn’t draft Trey [Lance] to just fix this year. We drafted him so he could be the quarterback here of the future. And I get that’s a matter of time, but we’re not playing him just because of what our record is or just because of that. So that’s why our first thing in our discussions is how healthy is he and how’s he going to look today? But just because of how our last four games have gone, that doesn’t really effect whether we’re playing Trey or not right now.”

At this point, I don’t even think the people advocating for Lance are saying he’ll solve all the problems. I think they just want something different than the time loop we’ve been stuck in with Jimmy Garoppolo for the past three-plus years. It’s not as if Jimmy has been playing at an acceptable level this year anyway, and it just so happens that that alternative is slated to be the future of the franchise.

Then, however, Shanahan said this when asked about the progress that Trey has made from training camp to now:

“I think it’s been good. I think it was real unfortunate that, at the time he got to play, I thought he was ready to take off a little bit after that getting that experience. I thought that that was going to be great for him to come back the next week, especially with Jimmy banged up a little bit, but he had an unfortunate injury and it’s lasting a little longer than expected. So, I’m excited to get him out there today. But he hasn’t done anything in a couple of weeks, so we’ll see where his progress is now.”

That comment to me was the biggest indication yet that Trey Lance would have been starting if he hadn’t gotten hurt against Arizona. I acknowledge that Kyle said, “nothing’s changed” after that game. Still, it’s also true that coaches usually defer to the incumbent starter right after the game only to make a switch once they’ve had the chance to speak to the players involved individually and away from the media.

Making the switch after Week 5 also would have made sense from a scheduling and development perspective. Had Lance not gotten hurt, he could have been named the starter and had two full weeks to prepare as QB1 before the game against the Colts on Sunday Night Football. That also would have given Trey and the rest of the team two games to acclimate to each other against easier opponents in Indianapolis and Chicago.

Essentially, Trey would have had a month as the starting quarterback before playing back-to-back divisional games against the Cardinals and Rams.

If that indeed was the plan, it’s a shame it didn’t go down that way because it would have taken a lot of heat off of Kyle Shanahan, it would have been great experience for Trey Lance, and it would have lowered the blood pressures of many of the Faithful around the country.

For more on this and whether Sunday will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s last start for the 49ers, download today’s 49ers in Five podcast!