A few 49er players are in Phoenix doing the media tour for the Super Bowl. Quarterback Trey Lance sat with a few media members, detailing how difficult last season was for him, and explained his rehab process.
During Lance’s interview with CBS, he explained the mental challenges he went through in 2022:
“I mean, this year has been a whole different experience for me. Just being in the situation that I’m in, being able to learn everything that I possibly can. Last year, similar situation, but being able to be on the practice field, being able to be in everything.
This year, kind of had to take it to another level mentally, being able to be in the meeting rooms when I know I’m not going to be on the practice field. Things like that. That was harder, mentally, some days, but I was able to take different things seriously—nutrition, sleep, things like that. And I think that benefited me in the long run.”
During Kyle Shanahan’s final press conference, he mentioned how important it was for rookies and younger players to learn how to sleep and eat right as they adjust to the lifestyle of the NFL. It sounds like his message has gotten through to Lance.
Trey didn’t gain the on field experience that he needs, but found other ways to learn from his teammates:
“That’s the only option at that point. When you’re sitting there this past year, being able to watch Jimmy for six to eight weeks and then being able to watch Brock play as well as he did, it’s hard not to learn stuff. And being able to be in the meeting room, being able to learn off the field from Christian McCaffrey coming in, Bosa, what those guys do, their habits. It’s experience that I don’t think I would have gotten playing on the field.”
With the latest news about Brock Purdy unlikely to be ready for training camp due to surgery, Lance is in a prime position to prove himself to both his coaches and teammates that he’s worthy of being QB1.
Lance told Rich Eisen Wednesday that life got easier when he found his role on the team. However, finding that role wasn’t easy:
“I went in probably a few weeks after my first surgery and just talked to Kyle and was like, ‘Man, what can I do?’ I started with base downs, breaking down pressures, especially once Brock started playing. It definitely picked up, which is around the time of my second surgery, right before my second surgery.
But I needed something. I needed something to feel like I was contributing. That was the hardest thing for me was getting to that spot where I’m feeling good. I’m doing my rehab, I’m in the meetings, I’m asking the right questions, but I didn’t feel like I was truly helping. A lot of time when Jimmy was playing—and obviously Jimmy’s a vet, Jimmy’s done it, he played at a really very high level—but once Brock took over, I feel like I needed to help.
So whatever it was, base down pressures, third down pressures, red zone, I just tried to help as much as I could.”
It’s encouraging to know that Lance was willing to go out of his way to be a good teammate. This also helps peel back the curtain and give us an example that these guys genuinely root for each other, despite being in a competition.
It wouldn’t be a quarterback interview if Lance wasn’t if he’d be the starter next season. Eisen asked Trey if Shanahan gave him any assurances moving forward:
“It wasn’t a situation, and I wouldn’t want it to be that way. Brock played way too well, and Brock played at such a high level and handled himself the right way. I wouldn’t want it to be a situation where I’m just handed something. And I feel horrible, obviously, Brock for his injury.
But for me, I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Whether it’s his, he’s going to be better for it. Mine, I’m going to be better for it. And I’m excited to just get on the field and compete. That’s all I want an opportunity to do.”
Lance will have every opportunity possible during this offseason to run the show for the 49ers offense. As of today, he’ll be the only quarterback healthy enough to participate during the team’s offseason program.
Despite that, Lance still knows the position won’t be handed to him:
“Everyone saw what Brock did. Brock doesn’t just come in and play that well, and I just get handed something out of the blue. And I don’t expect that or want that, but I truly believe, yeah, I just want an opportunity to compete. That’s all I wanted going into this offseason.
We’re going to get there. I was just with Christian, actually, on the flight yesterday. But just being able to talk about this opportunity. I mean, we’re close. We’re right there, offensively, defensively.
Fred Warner is the most intense human being I’ve ever been around. And I can’t wait to kick his butt during training camp. He won’t participate during OTAs because he doesn’t want the smoke.
Lance, obviously joking, called out Dre Greenlaw too. That’s the attitude you want from your quarterback. Lance has the mentality that nothing should be handed to him, while still being competitive enough to call out the biggest trash talkers on the other side of the ball.
Could you imagine saying a year ago that “Trey has big shoes to fill after what Purdy just did.”? Well, that’s the situation we’re in.
For Trey, it’s time. As he noted during the interview, he hasn’t played a full season since before COVID-19. Based on his recent remarks to Eisen and how Lance carried himself, he’s easy to root for, which should carry over to his teammates.