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Why a QB competition benefits the 49ers organization

In the end, we’ll get a motivated quarterback, no matter who is under center

San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Occasionally, we allow a guest poster on Niners Nation. Today’s comes from Kyle Snow, who has appeared on this site in previous years. Kyle wanted to touch on why a quarterback competition benefits the 49ers.

The Quarterback Competition is a Good Thing

What do we know so far?

Trey Lance – The upper bound for Trey Lance coming out of college was Aaron Rodgers. Don’t laugh, the 49ers management had to be thinking there was a realistic chance of him getting there, or they wouldn’t have spent 3 first round draft picks on him. He gets compared to plenty of guys, but it’s important to remember, he’s almost the same size as Rodgers (considerably smaller than Josh Allen). He didn’t run the 40, and I don’t think it was because he was going to put up a 4.4 time. Lance was fast in open space, but I think that’s more of a Colin Kaepernick (more on this comparison later) or Daniel Jones type of open field space.

What I’m trying to say, is that he’s not a running back. Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray seldomly get hit. When Trey ran last year he looked like he thought he Adrian Peterson, and was then, then surprised when he couldn’t truck an NFL Linebacker. He didn’t have any burst or elusiveness, which we shouldn’t expect.

He’s not a running back and running back is hard in the NFL. Trey Sermon didn’t seem like he had any burst either, and we drafted him to play running back.

So, what can he do? He can throw it deep, and he’s athletic enough to extend a play. He’s big enough to take a hit, but probably not 15 hits a game.

What questions remain? Lots. We still have no data from a fan perspective. I’d likely go back to Colin Kaepernick in this regard. Kap had a rocket launcher arm, but he telegraphed receivers, wasn’t able to understand and manipulate defenses, made poor decisions, and got his confidence shaken after a bad play. These are all very real concerns for Trey because we haven’t seen him do it at the NFL level.

Brock Purdy – With that type of expectation from Trey (extend plays and throw deep, not turn into Cam Newton), apparently, the only thing Brock can’t do that Trey can is throw the deep ball. We know he can operate the offense. We know he can make good decisions. Likewise, we know that he knows he’s not Adrian Peterson.

Possible Scenarios

Once you go down the endless list of scenarios, the quarterback competition looks brilliant. The optimal possibility is that Trey turns into Rodgers and makes the Pro Bowl for eight of the next 10 years. But when was the last time Rodgers had an MVP season?

It was after the Packers drafted Jordan Love, publicly saying that they think Rodgers is washed, and they need to be thinking about his replacement more than giving him weapons. We know that Kyle Shanahan and this coaching staff use the same tactic, putting players in the “dog house” to motivate players with at least some success.

If you say, “thanks for stepping up Brock, but Trey is still our guy,” do we know for sure that Trey Lance won’t go partying with strippers every night? Or does he need a little motivation to stay on the straight and narrow? Now that Brock is hurt, Trey could be thinking, my competition can’t even throw a ball. I’m whopping his ass by default, why do I have to work hard? So, you bring in Sam Darnold. A real NFL player, who should be a challenge for Trey to beat, but not an insurmountable challenge. He must see this talk in the media about how good Sam Darnold is and say to himself, this is bullshit. I’m better than him. Let me show you.

Perfect, so that keeps Trey motivated all spring and summer just to win the number two job. Then he’s got to come into training camp, not as the champion, but the challenger. Brock Purdy is wearing my fucking belt. You can’t barely beat the champ, you’ve got to knock him out because if it goes to the scorecard, the judges always favor the Champ. If Trey’s not motivated as the underdog, then he doesn’t belong in the NFL.

So, that’s if everything works out perfect, but how does Kyle Shanahan save face if things don’t work out just so. Well, for one, if Trey wins the starting job, you don’t say that. You say Purdy’s arm isn’t quite ready (even though we’ll still dress him as a backup).

Then you give Trey four games to see how he does under the bright lights. If he struggles, you bring in Brock like it was your plan all along. If he’s borderline, then you give him two more games. But if he balls out, then and only then, do you name him as your actual starter? Think if this goes the other way and Trey beats Brock fair and square, but can’t play in real games. Then you have to bench him for a quarterback who just lost his job. That doesn’t look good.

What if Trey doesn’t work out. What if he never gets it? Then you ride with Purdy, and thank the football gods that you lucked into a Purdy good quarterback. What if Trey doesn’t get it and Purdy actually isn’t healthy enough to start the season, or play at all? Then you start Sam Darnold, and you look like a genius because he’ll probably have at least some success with this All-Star team.

The bottom line is that the QB Competition benefits Trey Lance, Kyle Shanahan, and everyone involved with the 49ers because in the end, we’re going to get a motivated and improved QB this year, no matter who wins.