It seems like at least once a week this offseason, we’ve had reports of “whispers,” “rumblings,” or “questions” about Trey Lance as a full-time starting quarterback. Those are likely to continue as long as the 49ers continue to hold on to Jimmy Garoppolo. On today’s Oh, Hey There! Podcast Javier Vega and Leo Luna outlined what they see as realistic expectations for Trey Lance in his first year as a professional starting quarterback.
This topic bubbled up on Twitter earlier today, and I have to say, some of you are completely crazy.
To me a good year for Trey Lance would be 30 touchdowns 15 int 4500yds 300 rushing yds 4 rushing touchdowns. We don't need him to be Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers at least not yet.— 49ers News and Opinions (@SesterJimmy) May 9, 2022
For the record, only one quarterback in the entire NFL hit all of those requirements last year: Justin Herbert.
Those expectations are completely ridiculous for a quarterback in his first full year as a starter - particularly one as inexperienced as Trey Lance. Keep in mind that Trey will be the youngest starting quarterback in the league this season, even if rookies like Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, and Malik Willis win jobs out of training camp.
Speaking of Willis, let’s take a second to compare him with Trey. Like Lance, Willis was viewed as a great physical talent that needed a least a year of development because he was very raw coming out of school. Willis, who will turn 23 later this month, threw 618 passes in college. That is exactly 300 more passing attempts than Lance, who turned 22 yesterday.
Even if you throw in all the passes Lance threw in high school and the ones he chucked last year in the NFL, he’s still 116 passes behind Malik Willis. People don’t realize how little experience Trey has played quarterback because we’ve basically never seen anything like it before.
“To me, 23 touchdown passes seems like the right number, and five rushing touchdowns,” Javier Vega said, “So 28 total touchdowns for Trey Lance makes a ton of sense. Somewhere in that 3,400-3,600 yard passing mark and hovering right around that 61% completion mark.
When it comes to interceptions, he’s going to learn, he’s going to make some mistakes, he’s gonna take chances, he’s gonna want to throw the ball down the field, and things are going to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were around 11 interceptions.”
A touchdown total that high would be a welcome sight for 49ers fans, who have only seen two quarterbacks in the past 20 years put up that many combined scores (Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019 and Jeff Garcia in 2001).
“I’m not expecting Trey Lance to hover around the Jimmy Garoppolo 69% completion mark,” Luna said, “Their styles are too different for that to happen. Trey Lance is going to take more of the riskier passes, the downfield shots. Common sense, when you do that, your completion percentage isn’t going to be as high.”
What do you think it is reasonable to expect from Trey Lance this season? Leave a comment below and make your predictions.