49ers offensive change No. 1: Trey Lance will test far more areas of the field
The first change is clearly the most obvious.
One of Jimmy Garoppolo’s biggest limitations was the reality he rarely threw the ball deep down the field (passes of 10-plus yards in this case), and he didn’t exactly toss passes outside the numbers either.
Take this Week 16 passing chart from Next Gen Stats as a great example:
This afforded opposing defenses the opportunity to cheat towards that box in between the numbers and not having to worry too much about the deep threat.
In contrast, look at Trey Lance’s pass chart from Next Gen Stats in what was his second start of his career against the Houston Texans:
Fewer attempts, yes. But they’re spread all over the field. There are frequent pass attempts well beyond 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, and a number of them along the sidelines, too.
This is possibly great news for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.
No longer limited by the fact Garoppolo would rarely target those areas of the field, Shanahan can now look to implement longer-developing routes deep down the field, more frequent use of one-on-one matchups down the sidelines and so on.
In a sense, Lance’s abilities here open up more possibilities for the Niners offense to grow.