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Gold Standard Poll: How much should Trey Lance play in the preseason?

How an experiment from 1935 applies to the 49ers quarterback situation

Schrodinger’s Cat is one of quantum mechanics's most famous thought experiments. In the experiment, a cat is placed in a box with a vial of poison that will break open at a random time. Since no one knows when or if the poison will be released, the cat can be thought of as both alive and dead until the box is opened. The same applies to Trey Lance this preseason.

Simply put, any time a player steps out onto the football field, they assume risk. We saw that with Ryan Jensen today, and we saw it with Trey Lance last year. One of the biggest reasons Trey now has the starting job is because of the inability of Jimmy Garoppolo to stay healthy throughout the season. Unfortunately, Lance has also gotten hurt twice in his limited action as a professional.

49ers’On the other hand, the biggest red flag about the new starter is his lack of passing attempts in college and after a season in the NFL. Would it really be the wisest course of action to limit his reps in the preseason?

I asked Levin that very question on today’s Gold Standard podcast. He doesn’t think we’ll see a ton of Trey Lance before the regular season begins, but for a different reason.

“I don’t think he plays much. I think the team knows what he is, and they want to hide it. They want a team going into Week 1 thinking, ‘Well maybe Trey will struggle so let’s go ahead and load up the box and see if he can beat us.’

Think about it, if he goes out and dominates in the preseason, I think teams would play him differently [in the regular season]. You want the Bears to be giving Trey Lance all the possibilities in the world to dominate.”

I understand wanting to maintain some level of mystery with Lance because you want to squeeze as much juice as possible out of teams not having tape on the new offense. However, if Lance can’t operate that new offense efficiently because he hasn’t gotten enough reps, it won’t really matter if teams are caught off-guard.

So much of this season is going to be about collecting information on Trey. Kyle Shanahan has talked about needing time to learn his strengths and weaknesses, how defenses will attack him, etc. We also need to know whether he is capable of staying healthy when given extended playing time or not. None of that knowledge can be gained unless Trey is out there on the field. Quarterbacks are not collector’s items. Eventually, you have to take them out of the package and see exactly what you have.

Eventually, you have to open the box. Why wait to do that until Week 1?

I’m willing to be convinced, however. What do you think? Should the 49ers save Lance for the regular season as much as possible, or should they let it rip during the preseason and let the chips fall where they may? Vote in our poll and leave a comment below!


How much should Trey Lance play in the preseason?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    At least the first half of every game
    (478 votes)
  • 24%
    A lot in the second game but not much else
    (195 votes)
  • 15%
    As little has possible to keep him healthy/hidden
    (124 votes)
797 votes total Vote Now

Other topics in today’s show

  • A possible framework for a Deebo Samuel contract (3:19)
  • Would $70M guaranteed to be too much? (6:32)
  • The 49ers are about to be drama free for the first time in a while (10:25)
  • How much should Trey Lance play in the preseason? (12:06)
  • The hardest part about this season as a fan (12:43)
  • How big of a concern is the offensive line now that it’s an open competition? (24:22)
  • Is this the best roster Kyle Shanahan has ever had? (28:03)
  • Why Kyle Juszczyk will be more important than ever (33:41)