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Gold Standard: What message are the 49ers sending to Trey Lance if he doesn’t start on Sunday?

There are two possible explanations

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There is an old saying that goes, “If not me, who, and if not now, when?” When it comes to the 49ers quarterback situation, Trey Lance may be asking the same thing. On today’s Gold Standard podcast, Levin Black and I wondered what message the team is sending their potential future franchise quarterback if they chose to play an injured Jimmy Garoppolo instead of him against the Rams.

While Kyle Shanahan may not have said too much about the specifics of Garoppolo’s injury, Jimmy has explained quite a bit. From everything he has told us, playing effectively on Sunday is going to be no easy task. In Garoppolo’s own words, they are literally waiting for bones to reattach. What does it say, then, that the 49ers are still considering going with number 10?

There are only two possible explanations. First, the 49ers think Jimmy Garoppolo is so incredibly fantastic that even a severely hampered Jimmy G. is still better than a fully healthy Trey Lance. Considering the fact that the team traded three first-round picks and a third-round pick to select Lance in the first place, this would be illogical.

The second explanation is that the 49ers have so much doubt about Trey Lance right now that they think even a severely hampered Jimmy. G. is still better than a fully healthy Trey Lance. What other explanation could there be?

Both Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have talked about how Trey Lance is the future of the organization. Lynch has even gone on record as saying he’s even more confident now that the team made a good pick back in April. Why, then, if Lance is the future of the organization, would the organization choose to delay the start of that future? Trey is going to be the starting quarterback when the 2022 season begins in September. Does he really need one more game behind an injured Jimmy Garoppolo before he’s ready to begin that future?

When a team drafts a quarterback as high as the 49ers did, everything that they do from that point forward has to be about developing that quarterback because it’s the most important position in sports. Yet from leaving Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, to pulling the plug on the Lance package, to potentially benching him for a lame-duck veteran with an injured throwing hand, everything that 49ers have done since April has been in opposition to that development. The 49ers have held Lance back at every opportunity - even when he’s looked good on the field in limited action.

At some point, it’s fair for Trey Lance to wonder, “If not me, who, and if not now, when?”

Other topics in today’s show

  • Is it fair to Jimmy Garoppolo to throw him out onto the field with a torn UCL?
  • How the 49ers secondary can hold up against Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr.
  • How important will Elijah Mitchell’s health be to the 49ers' success this week?