You can’t get very far when talking about the 49ers training camp without discussing the quarterback competition. That’s been at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and for a good reason.
It’s the most important position in the sport, and we’ve seen firsthand in two of the past three seasons what happens when your starter isn’t available.
Injuries appear to be in the rearview mirror for Jimmy Garoppolo, as he looks healthy and has looked good when he’s on the move. However, health might not be enough for Garoppolo to outlast rookie quarterback Trey Lance, who has dazzled at practice and won over the hearts of fans and media members who have seen him live.
We’re not the ones making decisions, thankfully. While Lance has wowed, he still has to become more consistent, which is expected one week into practice. There are still parts of the game where Jimmy is ahead of Lance, but those aren’t being talked about.
Akash and I spoke about where Garoppolo is outplaying Lance in today’s episode of The Shanaplan. So far, Jimmy G does a better job of standing tall in the pocket without being affected by the pass rush and knowing where all of his receivers are.
During the past couple of practices, Lance has fell victim to tunnel vision. There was a bootleg where Richie James was coming across the field wide open, but Lance didn’t see him.
During a red zone period, there were two plays back-to-back where Lance was locked onto George Kittle and that caused him to miss an open Ross Dwelley underneath. On the play before that, Lance didn’t see the underneath linebacker and threw an interception.
These are only three examples, but it gives you an idea that Lance must improve his field vision. The more he plays, the more the game will slow down for him, and field vision will become less of an issue.
We go into further detail into that, plus how Lance’s “wow” plays are tough to ignore. The biggest difference between Jimmy G and Lance early on is that the rookie stretches the field both horizontally and vertically. As a result, a play is never dead when Lance drops back to throw.
Lance already has the wherewithal to buy time in the pocket with his legs while keeping his eyes down the field, but it’s him attacking the second and third levels of the defense that’s catching everyone’s attention.
After early accuracy issues, those haven’t been a problem for Lance recently. We’ll see if he can consistently hit his target. If Lance can, those first-team reps will be plural sooner than later.
Other topics in today’s episode
- Is the battle for WR3 already over?
- One backup from last year that’s flashed so far in camp
- The rookie DB that’s outplaying Ambry Thomas