Why the 49ers shouldn’t be too concerned about Trey Lance’s ‘ugly’ preseason finale

In the 49ers’ final vote before the 2022 NFL regular season, Kyle Shanahan planned to play starting quarterback Trey Lance for a couple of series.

Instead, he was on the field for three drives against the Texans, and none of them went particularly well.

Lance passed 7 of 11 passes against Houston for just 49 yards. He failed to lead the 49ers in the 17-0 loss to San Francisco and struggled to throw the ball accurately with a tight spiral.

Shanahan was quick to point out that Lance’s supporting cast didn’t do much to support him on Thursday, but he acknowledged the performance wasn’t the young quarterback’s best.

“I wish it was cleaner, just overall, but I’m not going to make too much of it,” Shanahan said when asked about Lance’s outing, per the 49ers Web Zone. “We wanted him to only get two rides. I ended up giving him three because I wanted to give him a little bit more there. But there weren’t too many opportunities and we got him some long descents and distances which made it tough.”

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In fact, the 49ers were plagued with penalties (11 for 104 yards) throughout the contest. Lance was also under frequent pressure, which forced him to roll out often.

However, he does not look for excuses after the performance; he’s just trying to learn from his problems.

“It never feels good to lose,” Lance told reporters after the game. “But we will learn from this, turn the page. We’re certainly not going to make a bigger deal of it than we have to. …Certainly some ugly stuff out there. It definitely wasn’t our best night, but like I said, we’re not going to make a big deal out of it. Watch the video tomorrow, learn from it, get better.”

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Lance’s performance Thursday was his last of the 2022 NFL preseason. It was also his last chance to inspire confidence in his ability to replace Jimmy Garoppolo and continue improving a talented 49ers team.

Lance wasn’t quite up to it, but San Francisco faithful shouldn’t worry too much about the quarterback’s volatile sophomore preseason. Here’s why.

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Why the 49ers shouldn’t be too worried about Trey Lance

Lance certainly didn’t have the best preseason for the 49ers, but he showed the skills that could make him a difference at the NFL level.

One was its mobility. Lance was frequently asked to scramble to find space against the Texans on Thursday as the blocking in front of him worsened.

Lance wasn’t exactly capable of turning those scrambles into great plays, but he was only sacked once and showed an ability to get the ball out of his hands. This ability should carry over to the regular season and allow him to avoid big, negative plays.

It’s also worth noting that Lance didn’t play with the entire San Francisco offensive line. Left tackle Trent Williams, arguably the best offensive lineman in football, and Mike McGlinchey, a 6-8 giant right tackle, both sat out Thursday’s game. Therefore, the Texans’ starting defense was able to make better use of the 49ers’ backup tackles and their reshuffled inside offensive line.

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The other ability Lance showed during preseason was his arm strength and talent. On his debut preseason, he completed a long, deep pass to rookie Danny Gray on the left touchline for a 76-yard touchdown. It was a pretty pass and showed just how electric the sophomore quarterback can be with his arm.

Lance certainly blitzed, but that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t have any Consider that he will take over Garoppolo. Lance’s accuracy and ball placement weren’t perfect, and he threw a few passes at the Texans, who wobbled on their way to his receiver. He also led just one touchdown drive in five attempts in the preseason.

However, Lance’s inconsistencies shouldn’t surprise the 49ers either. He came to the league as raw, unproven talent from North Dakota State, an FCS school. He started just one full season in 2019, played just one game in 2020 due to the FCS season being postponed due to COVID-19, and started just two games for the 49ers last season.

In short, Lance is inexperienced. As such, there will be growing pains for him and he won’t always make exactly the right game, especially in his early days as an NFL starter.

Though that sometimes makes him a little less reliable than Garoppolo, Lance’s ceiling is still higher than Jimmy G’s, so it’s important not to overreact to what the rookie does in the early stages of his freshman year as an NFL starter.

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Trey Lance preseason stats

Lance finished the preseason with 11 for 16 passes for 141 yards, one touchdown and a 116.9 passer rating. He didn’t turn the ball over but was sacked once in each of his two outings.

Of course, it has to be reiterated that 76 yards came from Lance on his one touchdown throw. If you remove that from the equation, Lance’s reading was mediocre; He went 10 of 15 passes for 65 yards over two appearances.

The 49ers also scored just 10 points in Lance’s five preseason drives, averaging 2 points per drive. That’s okay, but the 49ers will need more from Lance and company to emerge as a playoff team from the NFC West.

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