49ers news: Kyle Shanahan playing games with Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo questions

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan continues to be elusive about whether or not he’ll start Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance in Week 1.

Good luck trying to get an answer out of San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan when it comes to figuring out who he’ll start, Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance, at quarterback when the Niners kick off their 2021 regular-season campaign.

Lance’s solid two-touchdown outing in preseason Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers after a shaky start prompted many to think the No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick was now potentially in the lead to start Week 1.

Proverbially “ripping off the bandaid” on the Lance era for Shanahan and the Niners. Heck, even Shanahan, albeit in a roundabout way, backed away from what has regularly been an open endorsement for Garoppolo starting the season under center, now saying there’s no decision yet to be revealed to the press on who’ll get the start in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.

Well, if you think anything has changed, it hasn’t.

Kyle Shanahan continues to toy with media about 49ers starting QB situation

Garoppolo wasn’t exactly overly impressive during his brief time on the field against the Chargers, tossing an interception that effectively ended his outing and finishing with a 16.7 passer rating.

Again, it’s the preseason. Shanahan isn’t revealing anything close to the full playbook, and a sizable bulk of starters were also missing from the game and Garoppolo’s arsenal.

But if Shanahan isn’t revealing the playbook, he’s also being bluntly vague about his decision for Week 1, telling reporters the following on Wednesday (h/t 49ers Webzone):

"There would be one reason I can think of by naming [the starter] that would help, and it would be to end those questions. If you can give me another reason that’s a big advantage, that helps our team, affects anything that has to do with us, then I will name it, but I don’t think it does.I know you guys want an answer and stuff, which is fine. I get the suspense of it, but I’m not just going to answer it to end you guys’ suspense."

Shanahan also mentioned he has “a pretty good idea” who winds up getting the nod for Week 1.

The only thing? He’s not telling anybody. But he has weighed all the options:

"I could talk for six days on that. It’s about a quarterback giving us the best chance to win, and you don’t just throw guys out (there) just because of a skillset. You throw guys out because of how they work in your offense, how they work for your team, how the other plays tie to him, and what they’re ready to do."

Nothing like starting quarterback drama, right? Although there’s this to chew on:

49ers could give one hint on who starts between Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance

There’s another benefit to being coy about who starts. It’ll ultimately force the Lions to spend extra time game-planning for both Lance and Garoppolo, not having any concrete clue who winds up being under center.

But with one more preseason game on the docket — Sunday, Sept. 29 at home versus the Las Vegas Raiders — there’s a potential clue that might tip Shanahan’s hand.

Lance has seen only modest reps, both in training camp and the preseason, behind San Francisco’s first-string offensive line. And most of those have reportedly been special RPO plays and packages designed specifically for Lance’s skills.

Hot Read: Trey Lance won’t start in Week 1 until 49ers do this

It’s one thing for Lance to play behind a patchwork O-line for a drive or two in the preseason, and the same goes with having a couple of starting wide receivers out there for a few reps, too.

It’s another for Lance to see exclusive work behind the full complement of O-line starters for an extended length of time. If that happens against Las Vegas, it’s possibly a bigger indicator the rookie is closer to starting.

If not, Garoppolo is likely the guy in what’ll be the 49ers’ regular-season dress rehearsal.

Except Shanahan isn’t going to say anything about that either until the game actually takes place.

Next. 3 Niners rookies who impressed most in win vs. Chargers. dark