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Kyle Shanahan speaks on ‘first team’ reps at OTAs for Trey Lance and Sam Darnold

The first-team reps were expected to be split, but that hasn’t happened during the first two days of OTAs

San Francisco 49ers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Tuesday’s OTA session was the first available for the media. Getting a first glimpse of the team wasn’t the lead story, as Trey Lance and Sam Darnold were in the spotlight.

Lance took every “first team” rep on Tuesday, which sounds like a big deal, but Kyle Shanahan threw water on that fire.

Here is what Shanahan said when asked about the two quarterbacks and the snap split:

How did QB Trey Lance and QB Sam Darnold do for the most part?

“They’ve had two days. I thought they’ve done a great job. We’re just putting our base stuff in on offense and defense, and I thought that it’s been two really good days for them.”

Has Trey been getting all the first-team snaps?

“I think he did for today and yesterday. So far. Yeah, he has.”

Is there any meaning to that?

“No, it’ll even out. We’ll make sure to get that right. And the first team is kind of funny because there’s no o-line out there and most of our receivers are second and third team on the first team today, so I’m curious what everyone thinks first and second and third team is.”

Who took the first snap?

“Yeah, he was out there the first snap.”

OTAs aren’t the place for discussions about first-team reps, as Shanahan pointed out. Darnold is on his second day as a 49er, while Lance has three seasons in the system.

Lance’s mechanics and delivery have been a heavy speaking point. The first videos from yesterday show a change in delivery. It certainly sounds like Darnold will get as many opportunities as Lance with the first team at some point.

Shanahan added this about Darnold:

Does Darnold have a veteran presence, he’s still young, or is he kind of a younger quarterback still in your mind?

“I met Sam just when he came out of college just interviewing him in Indy. Even then he seemed like he had a veteran presence. Just the way he carries himself whether he’s in a football building or whoever his peers are off the field. And he seems almost like the same guy I met five years ago, so he is a little bit more of a veteran being in a couple places, but Sam’s come in here, to me, being the same guy he’s always been. That’s why he’s had such a good reputation and he’s coming here acting like he’s learning everything from scratch, which he is, and trying to act like a rookie in that way because it is all new to him. He doesn’t want to make any assumptions and he’s been awesome in phase one and phase two, trying to do techniques he’s not used to and things like that. And it’s been cool that he put the work in those two phases that he’s been able to use some of it here in these last two practices.”

When you were looking at him out of a college, he was a mobile quarterback at USC, not running like crazy. Is that a big feature in what you like about him now? Can you get some of that into him this season?

“Yeah, that all happens usually with reactions. There’re two types of mobile quarterbacks. Is it a type that you try to design runs for or is there a type who’s got the athletic ability or just a knack for making some off-schedule plays and I think his knack for off-schedule plays has always been good. When something’s not there and he feels space in the pocket, he doesn’t hesitate to run and he’s been able to do it very well. That’s usually a bonus. You want that anytime you have that, but you also have to be very good at the quarterback position too and Sam bringing that element is something that helps a lot of stuff as long as he doesn’t miss the other elements with it. I think that’s something you saw with Brock a good amount last year when he came in. People wouldn’t think of Brock as a runner but he is quick, he is athletic in the pocket and he makes plays very similar to the way Sam does scrambling and that’s what we see in Sam too.”

Shanahan hasn’t been shy about his affinity for Darnold. It was reported, the 49ers once offered a first-round pick to the New York Jets for Darnold, which the Jets declined.

The optimism is Brock Purdy will be ready to return for Week 1. If that is the case, then the debates about Lance and Darnold will end. Until then, it will be interesting to see how the splits between the two quarterbacks will shake out.