It was odd because it was as if it’s OK to make mistakes if you’re 30, but don’t you dare think about messing up as a rookie. I bring that up since Bleacher Report named one player on each team who could disappoint in 2022 and came up with Trey Lance for the Niners. Here’s their explanation:
Trey Lance has started in only three games between his time with North Dakota State and the San Francisco 49ers over the past two seasons. Fans should temper their immediate expectations for him, especially with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo still on the Niners roster.
Even if Lance starts the campaign under center and the 49ers eventually trade Garoppolo, the young signal-caller figures to go through some growing pains. He also might not have to carry a heavy offensive workload within Shanahan’s system, which leans heavily on the ground attack. San Francisco has ranked among the top five leaguewide in rushing attempts in two of the last three seasons.
Tempering expectations is reasonable. I’ve seen some fans throw out potential season statistics for Lance, and they’re in line with what a top-5 quarterback would produce. We're dealing with a star if Lance finishes this season as a top-12 quarterback.
It boggles my mind the way some use “growing pains” as an argument for a first-year starter. Lance, Drake Jackson, Aaron Banks, and the handful of players the 49ers will trot onto the field without experience will have their moments, both good and bad.
The Niners leaned heavily on the running game because they were ineffective through the air. It was The Deebo Samuel Show when the going got tough as he was seemingly the only player who could consistently make something happen.
If you go back to his days in Atlanta, Kyle Shanahan wants to throw the ball up and down the field. Against Arizona, in Trey Lance’s first start, that game plan was more aggressive than any we’ve seen in a long, long time. So, I don’t think we’ll see Shanahan be a conservative play-caller with Lance.
If anything, he’ll take advantage of Lance’s physical gifts and the speed that surrounds him. Again, that doesn’t mean every game will be four touchdowns for 330 yards. That’s not realistic.
Seeing how fans, coaches, and players react to Lance after his good and bad performances is something that I’m looking forward to seeing. When a player is mum and doesn’t want to talk about a specific subject, that’s their way of telling you Player X didn’t play so well. With a young team, I imagine we’ll see plenty of positivity in the media from everyone taking the podium this season.
If Lance lives up to his draft status, they’ll have every reason to be optimistic.