Trey Lance must be 49ers starter for better or worse

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Jimmy Garoppolo’s latest injury opens up a door for Trey Lance

A quarter of the way into 2021, the 49ers find themselves 2-2 and quickly losing a grip on command of the NFC West. They’re in last place, at least right now, and things could turn even further south in a hurry.

Headlining an otherwise offensively disjointed Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks was Jimmy Garoppolo’s latest injury, a calf injury suffered on the Niners’ opening possession that eventually forced him out at halftime.

And Trey Lance in.

More on Lance’s performance in a second. But after the game, a noticeably distraught Garoppolo told reporters he was getting tired of having to deal with injuries on a regular basis:

"It sucked. I mean, just in between series, I could feel it tightening up in everything. Thought I could gut it out. I tried to for the first half, but it’s just tough, man. I don’t know. I’ve been in the situation too many times, and it’s getting real old. So, it’s just one of those things, but a part of the business, though."

“I’m hopeful it’ll just be a couple of weeks or something like that,” Garoppolo added.

Garoppolo’s presser could generate reaction pieces all over the place, too. On one hand, any extensive time away from being available opens up the door for Lance to take over the starting job and never look back, even if it means the rookie will take a lot of lumps for the rest of the season.

Should that be the case, though, it’s likely Garoppolo has played his final meaningful down in San Francisco.

Because, once Lance is even remotely close to being ready, Garoppolo won’t come back. Up until this point, Garoppolo’s experience and health were the only two things standing in the way of Lance starting.

If the health factor is gone, the door is wide open for Lance. Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers need to embrace it regardless of the outcome.