Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer stirred the pot with regard to how the 49ers feel about Trey Lance, but NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco begs to differ.
Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated NFL insider Albert Breer joined Colin Cowherd to discuss a number of topics and one of those ended up creating quite the buzz in San Francisco 49ers circles.
According to Breer, the Niners are essentially at a point where they're lacking confidence in quarterback Trey Lance, who only two years ago, they gave up a slew of capital to select at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Breer said that if the current presumed starter, Brock Purdy, isn't quite ready for Week 1 of the regular season after undergoing offseason elbow surgery, it'd be Sam Darnold and not Lance who'd receive the starter's reps to open the year.
What stirred the discussion on Lance even further, though, was how Breer thought San Francisco is feeling about its top draft pick from 2023.
"Now, it doesn't mean Trey Lance can't come back and work his way forward," Breer added. "But I think that they feel like they've already given this guy a lot of chances."
Lance was redshirted his rookie season, and the 49ers already knew he was raw coming into the 2021 draft anyway. Then, in 2022, Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.
So, reasonably dissecting Breer's comments, how could the Niners have possibly given Lance "a lot of chances?"
Well, another insider much closer to San Francisco disagrees with what Breer had to say.
Matt Maiocco on Albert Breer's comments: 'I dispute the notion that the 49ers have soured on Trey Lance'
Insiders can be used as mouthpieces for teams, but that's not always the case with every one of them all the time.
That said, NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco is pretty deeply embedded with the 49ers, and he' regularly one of the two "pool reporters" for them out of all the dozens of media members in the press box on game days.
As far as Breer's comments, Maiocco isn't buying them and said quite contradictory statements when he appeared on KNBR 680's Murph & Mac Show this week:
"I think, right now, we just don't have enough information, and I don't think the 49ers have enough information to tell you who is in line to be the backup. I dispute the notion that the 49ers have soured on Trey Lance. I think, personally, in my opinion, is that they like him now more than they ever have since they've had him with the 49ers, but they just don't know how he would perform."
"They like him now more than they ever have" is a pretty good indicator that the Niners aren't trying to find the best way to move on from Lance or simply relegate him to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart behind Purdy and Darnold.
"Nobody knows how [Lance] would perform if given the opportunity. And I think Darnold is kind of in the same position. They like him a lot. There's a lot of talent there. We've talked about how he can throw the football, but they just don't know about him either, about how he would perform if given the opportunity in this offense.
So I kind of see it as the 49ers going into training camp with a pretty clear-cut number one quarterback, even though he might not play much—or any—in the preseason. But I think their number one is pretty clear-cut. The number two is, I would say, equal footing and kind of a TBA or TBD."
From these statements, it would appear as if San Francisco hasn't come to any conclusion about whether or not Lance should be second or third on the depth chart behind Purdy. And, as far as Purdy is concerned, he already proved the capability of winning consistently and effectively at the highest levels. Closing out the season 5-0 and helping take the 49ers to the NFC Championship game would do that.
Or, putting things simply, Maiocco is saying more "we don't know" than "a lot of chances" with regard to Lance.
And the Niners apparently "like him now more than ever," too.
Hat tip to 49ers Webzone for the find and transcription.