49ers vs. Cardinals: 3 things Trey Lance must do in first NFL start

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Trey Lance, 49ers can exploit some downfield passes

One of the reasons why Jimmy Garoppolo is limited as a passer is because he lacks the arm strength to toss the ball deep. At least with any sort of accuracy or zip, as attested by Next Gen Stats giving him an average-intended-air-yards metric of just 6.7, which is tied with the no-longer-potent arm of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for fourth lowest among qualifiers this season.

Trey Lance, however, has the strong arm. The only question is whether or not he’ll want to try forcing passes at moments when they shouldn’t be forced.

That doesn’t mean Lance has to avoid the deep ball, though.

Arizona is expected to be without its top cornerback, Byron Murphy, who missed this week’s practice sessions and was eventually ruled out of Sunday’s contest. This might open up some more favorable matchups for Lance, particularly if he can get some chemistry going with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, with whom Lance had a great rapport in training camp and with the Cardinals focusing on the NFL’s leading receiver, Deebo Samuel.

Lance only has to take a few shots deep down the field to open up things underneath.