The San Francisco 49ers have a quarterback conundrum of their own making on their hands. Trey Lance, the former third overall pick who the team traded three-first round picks and a third-round pick to draft, is at the center. Lance has been relegated to the team’s backup quarterback competition after the emergence of Brock Purdy as a rookie.
However, former New York Jets and Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini said on The 33rd Team podcast that he believes Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan should be able to get Lance on the field regardless of where he falls on the depth chart.
“In my mind, Trey’s got as much an opportunity as either the other two guys to play and to play a lot this season,” Mangini said. “And even if he isn’t the starter, why not take advantage of the skill set that he did show in college? His ability to run with the ball. His ability to make plays with his feet. And put a package in for him with the idea that he can contribute in a meaningful way to the offense.
He can be another element that teams have to prepare for, and then if he does have to go in the game as a starter at some point, he’s got some experience, so he’s not going in cold. It seems like that’s the way that makes sense.”
The interesting thing about Mangini’s suggestion is that the Niners actually did this in Lance’s rookie season, using him in red zone sub-packages for Jimmy Garoppolo. However, the team inexplicably stopped after a few weeks. There has been some speculation that was driven by a desire to avoid creating team chemistry issues. Mangini acknowledged that could be a concern but thinks it should not be as big of a deal since Purdy is far younger and inexperienced than Garoppolo was during Lance’s rookie season.
“I understand that you may not want to ruffle Brock Purdy’s feathers, but we’re not talking about a 10-year vet here,” Mangini said.
What do you think about Mangini’s suggestion? Should the 49ers plan for Lance to get 5-10 plays a game after Purdy’s return? Or should the Niners stick with a traditional quarterback plan?