4 things 49ers must accomplish in preseason opener vs. Chiefs

Offensive tackle Justin Skule #67 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Offensive tackle Justin Skule #67 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers open up their 2021 preseason against the visiting Chiefs, and these items should be on head coach Kyle Shanahan’s to-do list.

After months of waiting, San Francisco 49ers fans will finally have the chance to watch their team back in action this Saturday when the Kansas City Chiefs come to town.

Granted, it’s just the preseason opener for 2021. But unlike previous preseasons, this year’s installment will generate plenty of interest.

Particularly with a rookie phenom quarterback, Trey Lance, getting his first NFL reps against another opponent.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan already told reporters he was planning on playing most of his starters for just a single drive or so, meaning Lance is likely to get a good deal of reps over the duration of the first half.

Getting Lance some practical experience is going to be vital, but that’s not the only item on Shanahan’s to-do list for San Francisco’s exhibition opener.

Let’s break down what Shanahan needs to achieve on Saturday night.

No. 4: 49ers must get Trey Lance at least 30 snaps

This is reportedly the plan, according to Shanahan’s comments to the press on Thursday afternoon.

Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is one of those likely to be pulled after a single series, and Shanahan is hoping to install Lance from that point through the second quarter. The hope is, of course, for Lance to see at least 30 snaps before he gives way to the other 49ers backup signal-callers.

Yet with the Chiefs expected to play their first-team group for a full quarter, the real matchup to watch will be Lance going up against a starting-caliber defense when he finally gets to take the field.

A quick 3-and-out in the first quarter could be problematic. And considering Lance attempted just 318 passes during his collegiate career, gaining that vital experience will be inherently necessary for his own development.

Even if it stretches beyond halftime, Lance needs to reach that 30-snap threshold to hone his talents.