49ers vs. Raiders: 3 ways Trey Lance shows improvement

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Tershawn Wharton, Trey Lance, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tershawn Wharton (98) knocks the ball away from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers want Trey Lance to utilize his checkdowns more

Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo developed a template on how to beat Trey Lance early on: blitz him early and often.

In that game, the 49ers watched Lance take four sacks, and at least two of them were ones he easily could have avoided. Possibly even three. And while Lance avoided taking that sheer volume of sacks against the Chargers last week, he was still taken down twice. Transpired over a full game, Lance is currently on pace to be sacked six times per contest.

Not great.

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Recognizing the extra rusher is going to be one element of Lance’s game he’ll need to improve, and the Raiders’ pre-2020 lack of a solid four-man pass rush means they’ll likely blitz him a lot, too.

Yet that’ll always mean another receiving option is uncovered, typically a running back out of the backfield or a slot weapon of some sort, either a tight end or wide receiver.

Some would-be blitzers show blitz early on before backing off, while others are awfully good at disguising their rushing intents. Either way, Lance’s primary objective will be to go with those hot-read receivers in an instant when he recognizes the blitz is coming.