49ers offensive change No. 3: Far more designed runs with Trey Lance
Now, this might not be the best overall idea. But we did get a sprinkle of seeing Trey Lance operate designed quarterback runs under Kyle Shanahan last year.
One of the problems, though, is many of those plays early in 2021 came when Lance was sporadically rotated in to replace Jimmy Garoppolo, and defenses began to sniff out the likelihood of a designed run, thereby honing in on Lance rushing instead of passing.
In total, Lance attempted to run 38 times for a total of 168 yards and a touchdown in 2021, averaging a mere 4.4 yards per attempt, which is quite low in comparison to other mobile quarterbacks (albeit with greater sample sizes).
However, with Lance fully entrenched as a passing threat in 2022, teams will no longer be able to key in on his rushing prowess as they did early in 2021.
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One has to go back to Lance’s impressive 2019 collegiate campaign with North Dakota State where, in addition to his 2,786 pass yards with 28 touchdowns against zero interceptions, he rushed for a whopping 1,100 yards and an additional 14 scores.
There is a risk here, of course. Lance took some pretty hefty hits during his rookie season, including one that resulted in a knee sprain. So, running Lance on designed run plays is something Shanahan might want to use with discretion.
However, it’s going to be in the playbook, and one might expect Lance to have much better success in this department in 2022 than he did his rookie year.