The biggest question of the 49ers offseason remains the future of the starting quarterback. Brock Purdy is expected to miss a large portion, if not the entire offseason, which has Trey Lance in a position to show everyone why he was so highly coveted by the 49ers organization.
Much of the dialogue surrounding Lance unjustly has shifted toward a definitive tone, even though we haven’t had anywhere near a large enough sample size to come to a conclusive evaluation either way about the 49ers former first round pick.
Lance has only made four starts in his NFL career, and doesn’t even turn 23-years-old until May. At this point, it’s unfair and unrealistic to come to any definitive conclusions about who he is as a quarterback and what his impact will be on the 49ers going forward.
What we can do, however, is use the information we have at our disposal to make an educated guess about what the future holds for both Lance and the 49ers.
That includes the intangibles that Lance brings to the table, something that is difficult for fans and those outside of the 49ers organization to track in a quantifiable way.
To help get some better insight on the kind of intangibles Lance has, I spoke to Quincy Avery of QB Takeover, who has been working hands on with Lance since he came into the NFL.
Avery and I discussed a number of topics, including what the plan is this offseason for Lance, his relentless work ethic, utilizing his mental toughness to overcome adversity, and why Avery believes Lance has the traits to be a great quarterback in the NFL.
To get things started, we talked about what the next step was this offseason for Lance. Avery provided an update on Lance’s current recovery timeline, noting that he is beginning to get back into his normal throwing regiment:
“Trey’s just starting to get off of rehab, he’s starting his full throwing regimen, being able to take his drops and throws. We’ll be getting together pretty soon here, so i’m just here to help, trying to get him back in a rhythm throwing comfortably and doing things the right way.”
I asked Avery if there was an area of Lance’s game that people haven’t had the chance to see that’s going to help him excel in the NFL. Avery mentioned timing and rhythm and how the increase in reps will be monumental in his improvement as a passer:
“I think people got an opportunity to see some flashes in that Chicago game, the weather is what it is. However, you still started to see some things. You saw the deep over, you saw all those things he can do as a passer.
I think everyone knows he’s going to be tremendous running with the football, but he’s going to continue to evolve in the passing game, do a better job in terms of his timing and the rhythm of his drops. The more reps he gets, the better he’s going to play and I think people are going to be reminded of why he was the number three pick in the draft.”
I then talked to Avery about the mental fortitude that Lance possesses, and how he has been able to use that to overcome the adversity of rehabbing from a serious injury so early in his career:
“Trey is one of the most positive guys that I have ever had the opportunity to be around. He is honestly one of the best people, hardest working, most prepared guys that I’ve ever had the opportunity to be around on a day to day basis. I think that him being in the offense with Kyle Shanahan, the things that they’re going to ask him to do, his personality and his work ethic, it’s going to be a perfect match for that”
Avery then went in to detail about just how meticulously Lance has been attacking his preparation for the upcoming offseason:
“Just thinking about some of the things we’re doing this offseason, I’ve never seen somebody have such a robust list of things they want to work on and improve. He’s really difficult on himself. I think that is something that should be cherished, someone who is that hard on themselves, that critical of themselves, and someone who is on such a pursuit of greatness. He cares so much about the game, cares so much about his ability as a quarterback, those things are what make him who he is as a quarterback.”
Avery has worked with numerous NFL quarterbacks, including Jalen Hurts, Deshaun Watson, and Geno Smith. Given the extensive experience he has working with players at the highest level, I asked Avery if the ambition Lance possesses pushes him to go the extra mile as a coach and bring out the best in his own approach to making his players better:
“Anytime you get somebody who is that invested in who they are. Not only does it make you want to go the extra mile, but it makes you have to be that much more prepared when you go out there with them. If you’re not on your stuff they’re going to know it because they came out there ready to go to work. So he challenges you to be a better coach. You see a lot of that with guys like him [Lance], Jalen, Deshaun, all those guys have plans. The best of the best have plans and they want to get better everyday.”
I concluded my conversation with Avery by asking him about the doubt that some people may have in Lance, stemming from the small sample size he has at the NFL level.
“I think that can be a fair criticism just because you haven’t seen him play enough. But the 49ers are getting one of the hardest working, most talented guys i’ve ever had the opportunity to be around, and i’ve been around some great ones. The 49ers organization has someone who is really special.”