Despite being less than 24 hours away from their last game of the season, many 49ers players are already looking ahead to next year. Multiple players on both sides of the ball expressed excitement when asked about what Trey Lance can do in 2022.
“I’m excited to see what he does with this offseason,” Kyle Juszczyk said, “I’ve seen what kind of work ethic he has, I’ve seen what kind of drive he has, what type of person he is. I know he’s one that’s going to dedicate everything to preparing himself and getting ready and being ready to lead this team if that’s what he’s asked to do this next season. I think he’s definitely going to the type of guy that’s going to step up to the plate and be ready to do that.”
The microscope is certainly going to be on Lance in a way that it never has before, assuming Jimmy Garoppolo is playing for another team next season. Trent Williams expressed caution when it comes to expectations.
“We can’t just put the weight of the world on his shoulders, even though he is a young man that can handle it,” Williams said, “We’ll see what next year brings. Hopefully, he’ll get a full offseason to kind of work in the right direction, know what he’s working for after going through a full season. I have no doubt in my mind that he is a generational talent, and now it’s just putting that talent with the work ethic and making it come together on Sundays.”
For his part, Lance was humble as always.
“I learned a lot on scout team. Being able to play as and emulate different guys and play different playing styles that aren’t necessarily my own. I think I gained a lot from it. Gained a lot from playing guys who typically stay in the pocket and then going to guys like Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields. Those guys that can play off schedule at a really high level. I think I developed as a player. Obviously going against our defense, which I thought was the best defense in the league, going against our defense every single day. Obviously, every rep makes me better.”
Now, you might be thinking that these comments are what you’d expect teammates to say about another teammate, one person who would never sugar coat things is Jimmie Ward. Here’s his assessment of Lance.
“Well, (laughs) we know he can throw a football. We know that much. Got a lot of power in his arm. He’s an athlete, all right...He likes to move around in the pocket to throw the ball extend downs. Some of the stuff that you see Jimmy [Garoppolo] doing from time to time, you see Patrick Mahomes doing, you see the Kyler Murrays doing, you see Aaron Rodgers doing, like yeah. He has has that. He has that inside of him. He’s a competitor.”
Sunday’s loss is definitely still fresh in the minds of fans and will be for a while. It’s also comforting to think of what is to come, however, and how much fun we could be in for once again next season.