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Kyle Shanahan discusses expectations for Trey Lance in preseason opener

NFL: San Francisco 49ers Training Camp Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan answered several questions about rookie quarterback Trey Lance during his press conference after practice on Thursday. A couple of days before the Niners' first preseason game, Shanahan announced that incumbent starting signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo would play with the starters for one series before Lance played for the rest of the first half alongside the second unit.

Shanahan shared the sentiment of many fans, expressing excitement to see Lance get his first official action. The fourth-year head coach acknowledged that Lance would not have the same pressure many of his teammates who are on the roster bubble face but obviously has some hopes for the 49ers 2021 first-round pick.

“I want to see him take command of the huddle. There actually will be a play clock out there. Just being aware of that. You know, sometimes you get comfortable when you miss a play call or something... it’s also tough when you’re playing with a lot of guys who it’s their first time too. So, you’ve got to help people out a little bit, but he’s going to have a lot on his plate, and I’m just excited to see how he handles it,” Shanahan said.

Aside from talk of Saturday’s matchup against Kansas City, Shanahan also discussed Lance’s play in Wednesday’s practice when his line struggled to handle the defense’s pass rush. Shanahan explained that was indeed by design, “I don’t like seven on seven because I’m telling them to get rid of the ball, but there’s no pass rush. I also want him, if no one’s open, to hold onto it until the pass rush gets there. I also want him to, if there’s a lane, not to hesitate to break. So, you try to generate that as much as possible.”

Lance’s mobility is one of his most exceptional features as a prospect. However, as with any quarterback, his ability to run comes with concerns about his durability. Shanahan was asked how he balances trying to ensure his young quarterback takes advantage of his legs while staying on the field:

“I mean every time that you evaluate a run, you always talk about ‘Alright, how would you protect yourself here? How are you going down? Are you going for more or are you sliding? Are you going head first or are you stepping out of bounds?’ I don’t ever want a guy in practice to practice diving or sliding. You don’t want to hurt a wrist or get your feet caught in an awkward way. That’s something we’re all going to see in the game. Trey says the right things. He’s a pretty good runner. He’s pretty competitive. So, I hope he takes my word for it, but sometimes those guys don’t believe how hard people hit and then they get hit a couple of times in NFL they’re like ‘Alright, now I know what you’re talking about.” -Kyle Shanahan

Lance will have the opportunity to show off his abilities to throw and run when he takes the field on Saturday in his first official game.