The last time Trey Lance was under center for the 49ers, he did so without George Kittle. Before the Titans' doubled Kittle previous game, he had a three-game stretch that included 28 receptions and 425 yards.
Kittle missed the first game against the Cardinals. He had six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown a few weeks later. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Kittle will make Lance a better player.
Think about everything that’s changed on this roster during the past 2.5 months. Heading into Week 5, Deebo Samuel had five carries. In his last five games, Samuel has had at least five carries in each game. Deebo has also had three 100-yard receiving games since Week 5, including a 97-yard performance against the Rams.
Brandon Aiyuk was shackled up in the doghouse in October. However, in November, Aiyuk went through a stretch that saw him go over 80 receiving yards in three out of four games. His emergence allowed the offense to move Deebo around. I think Aiyuk might be the biggest beneficiary of the quarterback change.
During today’s episode of The Shanaplan, Akash and I tackle what all has changed since Lance last took the field for the 49ers. Over the past month or so, we’ve seen Kyle Shanahan, Fred Warner, Laken Tomlinson, and John Lynch all give glowing reviews about Lance.
On Tuesday, Warner sat down with 49ers team reporter Keiana Martin and touched on a conversation where Warner gave Lance advice. Keiana asked Warner if he’d noticed Lance’s improvements on the practice field:
“Yeah, absolutely. I’ll say there was a time when he maybe wanted to not make mistakes out there against us. He would hold onto the football, and he just likes to run and stuff. So I had to kind of pull him to the side and be like, ‘Hey, Trey, listen. This is your time to make mistakes and to try to fit balls into tight areas, kind of just make it hard for yourself, go out there and just see what you can do. Because out here, it doesn’t matter. You’re not trying to win a game. You’re trying to get better as a player.’”
I could listen to the side conversations that go on between the players all day. I’d love to know how they truly feel about Lance and what the team’s confidence level is in the rookie without holding back.
Warner continued, saying that’s where he started to see a change in Lance:
“I think the moment that kind of clicked for him is when we started seeing him just diming different balls in different places, things that he probably didn’t even know he was capable of. That’s where I really started to see the growth in his game.
He has continued to get better and better, as we all anticipated. It’s just a confidence thing. He’s always had the talent, and he’s only going to continue to get better with more reps.”
We will find out soon enough how much Lance has improved.
For Warner’s comments and more, check out the full episode below:
Other topics include:
- Things Jimmy Garoppolo did well that Lance may struggle with
- How Lance can compensate for that
- How Shanahan might use Lance
- Texans preview
- Playoff projections