Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how things work with the 49ers. The selection of Trey Lance when the world expected Mac Jones was supposed to be the biggest example of, “the 49ers don’t leak” that we’ve seen in the Shanahan era. So why, then, if the team doesn’t leak, do so many insiders/analysts supposedly have team sources criticizing Lance?
Joe Montana said Super Bowl week that players told him Trey wasn’t ready to play. Matt Lombardo said Trey continually underwhelmed the coaching staff. Albert Breer questioned whether Trey Lance can run Kyle Shanahan’s entire playbook. Ryan Harris of CBS Sports HQ said yesterday, “From players I’ve talked to and coaches I’ve talked to who are at the 49ers, Trey Lance is really leaving a lot to be desired in terms of the fitness of his arm, whether or not he can digest the playbook, and can really start to process the game at a high level.”
On and on it goes. Seemingly every day someone else is coming out of the woodwork to question Trey Lance.
That begs the question: where are all these people getting their information?
Before you start - don’t tell me they’re “making it up for clicks.” People say that crap all the time but I can tell you from experience that it rarely happens. I have been a part of the media for around 15 years. Before joining SB Nation I worked at ESPN Radio and with NBC’s Pro Football Talk for about 15 years. I have gotten to know many an analyst and reporter. They don’t just make stuff up. They don’t have to. There are enough people inside organizations, or people that used to be inside organizations that someone is going to say something that they can use.
Jason Aponte of the Sprint Right Option podcast made a great point on Twitter yesterday.
So the 49ers have a bunch of turnover with their coaching staff. New RB and QB coach. Mcdaniel not OC anymore. Yet, somehow every report about Trey Lance struggling starts with “people I’ve spoken to.” Who would that be? The new people who haven’t worked with him? Kyle? FOH.— Jason Aponte (@JasonAponte2103) May 18, 2022
With so much coaching turnover and with the new coaches having virtually no time with their players to this point, it seems highly unlikely that anyone currently with the team is criticizing Lance to outside sources. How could they? Their relationship has barely begun.
If people currently inside the organization aren’t likely sources, that only leaves ex-coaches and players as the source. Former quarterback coach Rich Scangarello has publicly shared his views on what makes a good young quarterback, and many took those comments to be shade at Lance. It’s entirely possible that other coaches (and players) the 49ers have moved on from were not impressed by the rookie.
How much stock can you put in criticism from a former team employee who may, or may not, have an axe to grind? That’s for you to decide, but the sheer number of reports can mean only two things. Either a single former employee really doesn’t like Lance and is telling everyone they come into contact with, or there were a bunch of people in the organization at one point who were not on the Trey train.
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