San Francisco 49ers: 3 realistic goals for 2021 season

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers with Kyle Juszczyk #44 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers with Kyle Juszczyk #44 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, NDSU Bison, 49ers
Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

49ers Goal No. 2: Start Trey Lance at Some Point

The general consensus is Jimmy Garoppolo winds up starting for the entirety of 2021, while Trey Lance sits as his backup and learns the proverbial NFL ropes.

It’s not a bad approach. A strong year from Jimmy G should help up his trade value for next year’s offseason, while also increasing his own contractual value with whatever team eventually decides to onboard him.

Meanwhile, the Niners guard against prematurely rushing Lance into the fray too soon, which is a luxury the two teams that drafted ahead of San Francisco — the Jacksonville Jaguars with Trevor Lawrence and the New York Jets with Zach Wilson — don’t necessarily have with their quarterback selections.

Related Story: Kyle Shanahan says Trey Lance has ‘chance’ to start in 2021

Yet Kyle Shanahan might want to consider giving Lance some practical field time sooner than initially anticipated.

For starters, Lance only played one full season at the college level, 2019, where he tossed just 287 pass attempts. His 2020 campaign was also cut short to just one game because of the pandemic, meaning the promising-yet-raw quarterback has a mere 19 games played under his belt.

And if he was to sit as a backup for all of the upcoming season, it would mean a mere one game of football played between 2020 and 2022, which is far from ideal.

Perhaps it would be in a mop-up situation. Or maybe Shanahan elects to insert Lance into a more favorable matchup against a lesser opponent at some point later in the year.

Either way, Lance needs to see some meaningful field time in 2021 to help further his development.