49ers training camp 2021: 5 hottest storylines so far

Josh Rosen #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Josh Rosen #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

There have been a lot of positives during 49ers training camp in 2021, but there are some big concerns, too. Let’s take a look at the biggest storylines so far.

Just ahead of the halfway point of San Francisco 49ers training camp, rookie quarterback Trey Lance unleashed an off-balanced 50-yard toss to wide receiver Trent Sherfield that went for a touchdown.

Not surprisingly, the throw created quite a buzz surrounding the No. 3 overall pick, suggesting his time to take over the starting quarterback job under head coach Kyle Shanahan is coming sooner than initially anticipated.

Considering the magnitude and potential long-term implications of Lance’s development, it’s no surprise the bulk of attention has focused on the first-year pro over the first week or so of training camp.

But what other storylines are there so far, and what impact may they have on the upcoming regular season?

Let’s take a look.

No. 5: 49ers quarterback competition is very real

Shanahan has gone out of his way to say all the right things about the player Lance is trying to unseat, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Shanahan has regularly called Garoppolo his starter for Week 1 while giving Jimmy G the overwhelming majority of first-team reps in camp.

By all accounts, Garoppolo has had a good training camp, too. Aside from what led up to the Niners grabbing Lance at No. 3 overall in the draft, injuries, Garoppolo has effectively done nothing to lose the starting bid.

Except for not being anywhere as dynamic as Lance.

It’s possible, perhaps still likely Garoppolo starts Week 1. But let’s not gloss over the fact Shanahan made numerous efforts during the offseason, highlighted by drafting Lance, to replace Garoppolo. And let’s not ignore the fact the selection of Lance at No. 3 wasn’t intended to find a quality backup.

No, Lance is the intended starter. It’s just a matter of when.

The only remaining question is when Lance convinces Shanahan that he gives San Francisco as good a shot at winning as Garoppolo.

Once that point hits, and it could be sooner than later, Lance will be in.