3 things Trey Lance must do to steal Jimmy Garoppolo’s job

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Trey Lance must cut down on sailing his passes

One of the noted points during the first week of OTAs was how Trey Lance, despite his physical gifts and talents, still looked like a first-year rookie without too much collegiate starting experience.

He did, after all, just have one full year as a starter at North Dakota State, 2019, and saw just one game in 2020. He’s going to be rusty.

Many of the OTA Week 1 scouting reports pointed out how Lance could frequently sail his passes, which will eventually get dangerous against NFL-level competition and lead to the turnovers neither a rookie quarterback nor the Niners, in general, can afford.

In Week 2 of OTAs, however, signs pointed to Lance turning things around. And by a good margin, too, at least according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (h/t Niners Nation):

"He might be the only person since I’ve been covering the team, which is about a quarter of a [century], that from one week of OTAs to the next week, you could actually see the improvement. The first week we went out there and he just kind of seemed to be a little bit unsure of himself, a tick slow. The ball was sailing high. You could tell there was just a lot going on in his head. And in the next week, he went out there and you could tell — he was directing traffic, moving guys from spot A to spot B, and he threw the ball a little bit more accurately. It’s not often that you see a dramatic change that you can see with your naked eye."

Lance’s collegiate completion percentage on 318 pass attempts was 65.4 percent, so it’s clear he can display the needed accuracy. But he’ll have to ensure that same accuracy doesn’t take a dip by whatever poor mechanics are revealed or in light of the increased level of competition at the pro level.

Ensuring those sailed passes aren’t a thing will go a long way towards determining whether or not Lance will start in 2021.