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Peter King: “I will be surprised if the [49ers] No. 2 quarterback is not Sam Darnold”

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NFL: Preseason-San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback job is all but certain with Brock Purdy being taking the field in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Purdy has followed his rehab with little setbacks and is now throwing more than two days in a row.

So that leaves the No. 2 quarterback. Purdy V. Lance isn’t happening, but it’s Lance V. Sam Darnold. And as for a winner, NBC Sports’ Peter King is thinking it’s the latter.

“I will be surprised if the [49ers] No. 2 quarterback is not Sam Darnold” King said on Pro Football Talk’s YouTube show.

King noted the No. 2 reps are starting to go to Darnold. This could be for a variety of reasons or looks for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, or it means Darnold is starting to get an advantage.

“I think you can just see it,” King said. “He’s a little bit more confident, seems to be playing in that offence with a better state of readiness than Trey Lance.”

After an uninspiring performance last Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, it seems like everyone has had a take on Trey Lance. And as you’d expect, they range anywhere from sympathy for Lance’s inability to see or stay on the field to saying, he had no QB instinct since leaving his crib.

“A lot of people are going to make judgments,” King said. “And rightfully so on the fact how much was waisted if indeed Lance never works out in San Francisco and that is indeed how it’s looking like now. But I think this is one of those things that if you get caught up in this, if you’re [49ers general manager] John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan you can’t get caught up in this, because what good does it do you?”

The fact of the matter is things simply haven’t worked out. It happens. In the case of the 49ers it’s a bit embarrassing how it happened, but they still made it to the NFC Championship game in both of Lance’s first two seasons. Seasons, he didn’t play more than two games.

If he is indeed demoted to QB3, Lance may still get a shot with the 49ers. Given that their starter is coming off an elbow injury and their other candidate for QB2 has a knack for interceptions, Lance very well could find his way onto the field. There’s also the fact the 49ers can’t have too many quarterbacks.

Lance needed to play football and injuries kept him from doing so. Availability was part of the reason the 49ers decided to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo in the first place.

“Why is Trey Lance so far behind?” King said. “Because he has played one season of football since he graduated from a mid-level high school in the state of Minnesota.

“So what do you expect?”