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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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason No. 1: Trey Lance can’t afford to be crushed as a runner

Footwork might have been another area in which Trey Lance could show improvement heading into year two, but there were enough positive developments between his collegiate game tape and his final start of 2021 to suggest he’ll be fine in this department.

What is still concerning, however, are the sheer number of big hits he took on scrambles, both designed runs and impromptu plays where he used his legs to pick up gains.

Lance suffered no shortage of big blows when trying to rush for yardage over the course of the season, and it’s possible to place blame on both him and head coach Kyle Shanahan for it. Perhaps the biggest example was this Week 5 goal-line attempt where Lance failed to cross into the end zone, injuring his knee in the process:

While a goal-line attempt might not be the perfect example. There are plenty of others where Lance attempted to use his 6-foot-4 frame to bowl through defenders instead of giving up with a slide and protecting his body.

Perhaps one wishes Lance had extensive experience as a baseball player, learning how to effectively slide before taking a crushing hit.

Lance will need to take that trajectory of many a mobile quarterback, learning to rely less on his rushing prowess and more on his arm, choosing carefully when to scramble and not subjecting his still-young body to the rigors of unnecessary abuse.

The last thing the Niners want to see is an oft-injured quarterback taking too many hits out in the open field.

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