3 things 49ers must accomplish during 2021 training camp

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Trey Lance (5) and Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have a number of key position battles during 2021 training camp, but these three items need to be highlighted before Week 1.

The San Francisco 49ers officially kick off the 2021 version of training camp next week with on-field practices opening up on Saturday, July 31.

Every camp has its own life to it in one way or another. The position battles vary, there are certain players who are under more pressure than in previous years, rookies are always exciting to watch and so on.

Yet this season feels a bit different, namely because of the high-profile competition at hand for the starting quarterback job between the incumbent veteran, Jimmy Garoppolo, and the highly anticipated rookie, Trey Lance.

Garoppolo and Lance figure to get a lot of the attention during camp, and figuring out who should wind up starting is the first of these three items on the Niners’ training camp to-do list.

49ers To-Do Item No. 1: Determine who starts between Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance

There are arguments both ways. For Garoppolo, he has the experience in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense. And when healthy, Garoppolo has proven he can be moderately successful, as 2019 showed.

Plus, in an ideal world, San Francisco would like to maximize Garoppolo’s trade value on the open market, probably in 2022, and letting him ride the bench behind Lance won’t do anything in that regard. If anything, the 49ers would probably just release Garoppolo to get out from under his sizable contract hit.

For Lance, the No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick from this year, the Niners fully intend to make him a franchise centerpiece. On top of that, Shanahan won’t hesitate to turn things over to the rookie as soon as Lance demonstrates an equal chance at winning games under center as Garoppolo.

Read More: 4 reasons why Trey Lance starts right away in 2021

Yet that’s the long-term plan, not necessarily the one on the table for Week 1. With Shanahan having three losing seasons out of four during his head-coaching tenure, winning games now has to be just as big a priority as developing Lance properly.

Shanahan has to figure this key question out quickly and the right way.