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Gold Diggers: Trey Lance isn’t attacking where we thought he would

Is Kyle Shanahan planning on doing a rope-a-dope once the regular season starts?

Since the day Trey Lance was drafted, the conventional wisdom was that he would use his legs to extend plays while pushing the ball down the field with the bazooka he calls a right arm. While it’s entirely possible he could still do that during the regular season, he certainly hasn’t done it so far in 2022.

On today’s Gold Diggers podcast, Michelle Magdziuk passed along some great info about what we’ve seen from Trey so far, courtesy of NextGen Stats.

(Obligatory Trey Lance small sample size warning)

Lance went 11 for 16 for 144 yards, one touchdown, and a quarterback rating of 117.7.

  • Nine of his 11 completions have come on passes fewer than ten air yards down the field. Five of those nine completions have come behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Only one of his 11 completions has come in the field's intermediate (10-19 air yards) part, and it went on a poorly thrown ball to Malik Turner for 14 yards.
  • Two of his 11 completions have come on passes thrown 10+ yards in the air. One of those completions was the aforementioned pass to Malik Turner, and the other was the 76-yard bomb to Danny Gray against the Packers.

Again, all of this can change in the regular season, but as of right now, Lance has primarily operated closer to the line of scrimmage than most of us thought he would.

If he is going to attack the intermediate part of the field more this year, he’s going to have to improve upon last year’s numbers in that area. In his 2+ games last season, Lance went 11 for 24 (45.8%) on passes of 10-19 air yards with 0 TD, 2 INT, and a 39.2 passer rating.

Rushing yards for Lance have been virtually nonexistent this preseason. In two appearances, he’s carried the ball just two times for a total of 8 yards (and a long of seven). Kyle will definitely dial up more designed runs once the regular season begins - particularly in short yardage. What will be interesting to watch is how often Lance scrambles. Up to this point in his career, he seems only to want to use his legs after exhausting all other options in the passing game.

Patience is still the name of the game here, of course. These numbers could all change once Trey gets more experience. Kyle Shanahan is obviously not unveiling the full scope of the offense during games that don’t count, and surely Lance would argue that the injury to the index finger on his throwing hand had a huge impact on his play last year. I just thought it might be interesting to see where Trey has been going with the football thus far.

Other topics in today’s show

  • We have seen enough- Samuel Womack is a legit star in the making (2:55)
  • Trey Lance’s issues were on full display last night (6:12)
  • One specific area where Lance needs to improve (8:14)
  • Does Trey actually need to look to pass less than he does? (10:33)
  • The offensive line was ass last night (16:11)
  • One possible solution to the struggles at guard (21:22)
  • How much will the loss of Jimmie Ward hurt? (22:40)
  • Could an old 49er favorite return to the team after all? (24:39)
  • Aaron Donald should be suspended (27:41)