Trey Lance: What worked, what didn’t for 49ers rookie vs. Cardinals

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports /

What worked for Trey Lance, 49ers

For those panicking about Trey Lance, stop.

Yes, he’s raw. Yes, he made rookie-like mistakes. But if that’s the floor for Lance-type play, there’s a lot to be excited about.

Lance will eventually have to learn to take what the defense gives him. Yet it’s already clear he can extend plays with his legs way better than any quarterback Kyle Shanahan has had on the roster. And while it wasn’t pointed out very much during the game, if you go back and watch, Lance doesn’t hesitate to step up in the pocket when reacting to pressure.

Considering San Francisco’s offensive line didn’t do many favors for Lance, this is surely a good thing.

On this 3rd-and-3 play in the second quarter, Lance showed he has some accuracy on a tight-window throw to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk:

Lance, who has yet to develop nearly enough chemistry with his receiving targets, should only get better when he begins to understand what’ll happen on routes. And while there might need to be some more finesse on the rookie’s passes, the first-year accuracy and ball placement is there in the context of how little experience he’s had.

There is, of course, the rushing ability, too, and we’d be remiss to avoid that altogether.

Related Story: 3 things Trey Lance must do in first NFL start

Lance rushed 16 times for 89 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt, although the Cardinals entered the game with the next-to-worst run defense, allowing 5.4 yards per carry. Still, it was notably apparent Lance could pick up those chunk yards on the ground when the opportunities were there.

For now, at least, that’ll continue to be Lance’s No. 1 weapon and strength. And while he’ll want to eventually transition into being a true passer and not rely too heavily on his legs, at least this is a facet to his game that’ll positively impact the 49ers offense.

Especially when it’s struggling to pick up first downs.

All told, Lance had his up-and-down moments. No getting around the bad, but they’re not all “doom and gloom” items. Lance showed composure, bounced back from notable setbacks.

Now, the choice is on Shanahan to see if Lance’s continued maturation and development should come at the expense of Jimmy Garoppolo.

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