Caught up in the speculation about Jimmy Garoppolo’s future, Kyle Shanahan didn’t actively say Trey Lance would start in 2022, but he did say this.
The crowd out there who want to see veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo stay entrenched as the San Francisco 49ers’ starter in 2022 probably got some reassurances this week from the NFL owners meetings in Florida, both from general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Earlier in the week, Lynch told reporters how they weren’t simply going to be “giving” Garoppolo way after trying to trade him earlier this offseason but ultimately failing to do so.
So, naturally, Shanahan was prompted similar questions from the media with regards to Jimmy G’s future, should he remain on the roster, and what it’ll mean for Niners second-year quarterback Trey Lance, who served as Garoppolo’s backup for the bulk of 2021.
Not surprisingly, Shanahan was awfully vague with his responses (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area):
“That’s why we looked into trading Jimmy, because we obviously believe Trey can be a starter, and we’re ready to do that,” Shanahan said. “But if we can’t upgrade our team in another way, we’re not going to just get rid of a good quarterback because we have other quarterbacks on the roster. Quarterbacks are really hard to come by”
Understandably, that would convince some Garoppolo is here to stay, potentially sticking in his prior role of being a starter.
However, in follow-up questions, Shanahan also sprinkled in a nugget that revealed Lance, not Garoppolo, would likely be San Francisco’s starter moving forward.
Kyle Shanahan doesn’t outright say Trey Lance starts over Jimmy Garoppolo, but he hints at it
The 49ers underwent a series of massive coaching changes during the offseason, one of which involved bidding farewell to former quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and onboarding former NFL quarterback and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Brian Griese, with whom Shanahan had a prior working relationship.
It was something Shanahan touted, courtesy of Fangirl Sports’ Tracy Sandler:
“I was able to work with Griese for two years in Tampa,” Shanahan added. “Personally, I think he was the smartest football player I’ve ever been around. The way he prepared, how organized he was. He’s as detailed of a guy I’ve ever been around. I thought he could bring something different to the quarterback position.”
Just like how Shanahan is hoping Lance, vastly different than Garoppolo in terms of skill set, will bring something different, too.
The Niners may still look to trade Garoppolo later this offseason, perhaps in response to inevitable injuries and/or other teams’ plans at the position not providing desirable results.
And while Garoppolo remains on the roster, Shanahan nevertheless seems to subtly suggest San Francisco is turning the page.
Even if he won’t say it outright.