Trey Lance has only started three games for the 49ers, but in at least two out of those three games people were left worried about the number of hits he takes as a runner. Against Chicago on Sunday, the 6’4”, 225 pound Lance carried the ball 13 times, and was hit on pretty much all of those attempts. Does he need to do a better job protecting himself?
When he met with the media yesterday, Trey very politely disagreed with that assessment.
“There’s always going to be better decisions I can make. But on Sunday I felt like I protected myself pretty well, I felt good for the most part. Maybe a couple I could have got down one step faster or slashing, finding an edge and getting down. But for the most part, when I’m running between the tackles or running on third down, I’m not ever going to slide and go fourth-and-two and just give up on the play and send our defense on the field if it’s a situation like that.”
He may be a quarterback on the depth chart, but Lance clearly has the mentality of a fullback as a ball carrier. If he’s a yard or two away from the first down marker and he’s not near the sidelines, defenders had better brace themselves.
Kyle Shanahan, for his part, seemed okay with this mentality.
“He’s got to play football still, too,” Shanahan said, “There’s times to slide, there’s time to take edges and dive...You have to get down when you have people in certain areas that are vulnerable, but there’s going to be some that he gets hit on. There’s going to be some that he can protect himself. And that’s just for him and us to work through.”
Injuries are always a factor in football, and the 49ers know that more than most. It sounds like Lance understands the importance of staying healthy, but he isn’t afraid to roll the dice if the situation calls for it.
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