The 49ers have their second OTA practice on Tuesday, where the media will be able to watch. Some key players such as Nick Bosa won’t be in attendance. But we all know where the focus will be whenever cameras are available, and it’s on the quarterbacks.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler had a segment Tuesday morning on Sportscenter, where he confirmed what Kyle Shanahan already had, saying Sam Darnold and Trey Lance are expected to split first-team reps during OTAs:
“Both will get extended runs with the first-team reps while Brock Purdy continues to rehab. He [Purdy] has the inside track on the starter job once he does return. But, for now, they’re hoping for improvement from Trey Lance. They just haven’t seen a lot from him. But they know he’s been working hard this offseason, retooled his throwing mechanics a bit. So, they expect him to show out in a big way.
The Sam Darnold signing is really interesting to a lot of teams I’ve talked to. They believe that Darnold is going to push for meaningful snaps on this team, as early as Week 1. They believe that his major talent has gone largely untapped. Maybe the 49ers can bring something out of him.”
Darnold went 4-2 as a starter last year. It’s not fair to close the book on him, given Darnold’s previous situations, but it’s also naive to think he’s the next right-handed Steve Young now that he’s on the 49ers and given yet another opportunity.
If these teams Fowler spoke with covet or believe in Darnold as much as they say, you would have thought Sam would have earned a more lucrative deal than a one-year contract worth $4.5 million with $3.5 of that guaranteed.
Lance, for whatever reason, keeps taking the back seat in the news cycle. Fowler said, “they expect him to show out in a big way.” I’m fascinated to see what that looks like. To see how Lance has progressed, and whether he’s taken command of the offense.
It’s unlikely we’ll find out anything of substance from OTAs or minicamp, as each will be without pads or full contact. Still, it’s a stepping stone and a building block for both quarterbacks, as they look to gain an advantage over the other.