Trey Lance: 3 reasons to be critical of 49ers rookie quarterback

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Gerri Green, Amik Robertson, Trey Lance, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Gerri Green (52) and cornerback Amik Robertson (21) sack San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason No. 2: Trey Lance is still vulnerable to pressure, taking sacks

Trey Lance’s scouting reports from before the 2021 draft may not have been as bad as those of Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields when it comes to taking unnecessary sacks and not getting rid of the ball soon enough.

But it’s still an area in which 49ers fans can be moderately concerned.

Granted, Lance showed significant improvement from his NFL preseason debut against the Kansas City Chiefs, who pressured him regularly to the tune of five sacks over two quarters of action, to his final outing against the Houston Texans late in the regular season.

However, of the four regular-season sacks he took, one might argue he ran into two of them, including this one versus the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5:

A learning experience, perhaps, but learning how to properly navigate the pocket amid pressure will be something Lance must improve upon.

Another facet, at least according to Pro Football Focus, is the notion Lance holds onto the ball too long. PFF has this metric at an average of 3.37 seconds, which is nearly a full second above the 2.5-second threshold that usually signals the danger point of an opponent’s pass rush getting home.

Read More: Trey Lance must overcome Jimmy Garoppolo’s shortcomings

Granted, it’s not a perfect analysis point. Lance has the physical tools to wait for his receivers’ routes to develop well down the field, far better than those of Jimmy Garoppolo, so holding onto the ball a little longer within a clean pocket is never a bad thing.

Still, when facing pressure, Lance’s completion percentage dropped from 63.0 when kept clean to 41.2.

It’s an area where he’ll need to show improvement in 2022.