Trey Lance is both fascinating and concerning (and that’s OK)

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The temptation to jump to a conclusion on 49ers quarterback Trey Lance is there, but it’s not a case of “either-or” with regards to whether he’ll be good.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the awfully polar takes both fans and analysts have on San Francisco 49ers second-year quarterback Trey Lance.

On the positive side, Lance’s athleticism, football IQ, work ethic and big-play potential make for an enticing prospect, the No. 3 overall prospect from the 2021 NFL Draft, of course.

However, exploring the flip side, concerns over Lance’s lack of collegiate experience, total accuracy and even questions about “arm fitness” have paralleled the young quarterback’s journey from a high-profile backup to a first-year starter in just over a year at the pro level.

As far as critics are concerned, no amount of boosting from Lance’s teammates and coaches will convince them otherwise that the quarterback is nothing short of a bust in the making. And after plenty of up-and-down moments during training camp over the last two weeks, that’s understandable.

The problem, though, is Lance’s trajectory for 2022 can’t be classified into an either-or category. That’s actually far too complicated for what the actual context is.

Overhyped about Trey Lance? Cool the jets a bit

Plenty of quarterbacks (even good ones) struggle in training camp. Especially if they’re going up against a good defense, like the one the Niners apparently have this year.

However, there are signs to suggest Lance might struggle when he gets into the regular season anyway, highlighting the approximate 50-percent completion rate through the course of camp thus far.

This, in light of Lance seeing only one full year as a collegiate starter, 2019, and he attempted just 318 passes at North Dakota State before San Francisco drafted him. And while that alone won’t transfer over to failure or success in the NFL, it does lend to the idea Lance hasn’t exactly seen the complex measures opposing defenses will take to confuse him.

So, despite those highlight-reel throws you’ll see from time to time in practices, Lance probably isn’t going to come off and have one of those first-year-starting seasons a la Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018.

And that’s perfectly OK.

Worried about Trey Lance a bit? Relax

Perhaps our good friend, Rob Lowder of the Striking Gold Podcast, summed up the perfect analysis on Lance as he prepares for 2022 amid some notable training camp disappointments:

The 49ers quarterback isn’t alone when it comes to having these issues either. Remember back in 2019 when Lance’s predecessor, Jimmy Garoppolo, tossed five-straight interceptions in a camp practice?

And, gosh, even Mahomes drew plenty of concern during his first camp as a starter, 2018, in light of tossing six interceptions in three practices that year.

Garoppolo played well enough to help the Niners get to a Super Bowl that season, while Mahomes turned into the 2018 NFL MVP.

Alright, so this might not be Lance’s trajectory this season. But it does shed light on why it’s a silly exercise to fully conclude he’s trending towards “bust” status.

If anything, far from it. That’s OK, too.

What can we conclude about Trey Lance right now?

Fans and analysts are an impatient bunch.

We want takes now, and we don’t care whether or not they’re accurate. In fact, many of us like takes that end up being wrong because, regardless of whether or not we agreed with them in the first place, we can always clap back later and say, “I told you so.”

Read More: Trey Lance must experience growing pains in 49ers training camp

There are no immediate conclusions about Lance just yet. At least none that’ll directly predict his successes or failures in 2022 and beyond.

As such, it’s impossible to land on one side or the other when it comes to determining his camp struggles and triumphs, and specifically how they’ll translate over into meaningful games.

The good news is you don’t have to land on one side or the other. In fact, the logical response to the Lance question is much further from crowning him as either a bust or an MVP right now and rather admitting, “we don’t know yet” and “we’ll see.”

And that’s perfectly OK.

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