Trey Lance retooled throwing motion is latest hurdle to overcome

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Trey Lance reportedly underwent some slight modifications to his throwing motion, and that's a good first step in continued development.

Fairly or not, third-year quarterback Trey Lance is facing a turning point with the San Francisco 49ers this offseason.

His 2022 campaign, one that should have been his first year as a starter, was derailed by a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. And after the rise of that year's rookie phenom, Brock Purdy, plus the Niners' free-agent pickup of former Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, Lance is now in a position where he needs to fight not only to claim the starting job but to potentially stave off a would-be trade, one NFL Network's Ian Rapoport suggested could happen later this summer.

Three elements are already working in Lance's favor, though.

First, Purdy is still hurt after suffering a torn UCL in the NFC Championship game last season. While his surgery was successful, Purdy might not be ready to throw in live action until training camp, perhaps even into the regular season. And while Lance splitting first-team reps with Darnold isn't ideal for offseason workouts, it's better than looking up at Purdy on the depth chart.

Second, and it's anyone's guess how much it'll provide a positive impact, Lance spent time working out with Kansas City Chiefs two-time MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes this offseason.

Under the tutelage of private quarterbacks coach Jeff Christensen, under whom both signal-callers are clients, Lance was able to observe the things Mahomes does that helped translate him into arguably the NFL's biggest superstar right now, as the coach broke down in an interview with The Athletic's Matt Barrows (h/t 49ers Webzone) earlier this week.

According to that report, Lance watching Mahomes "helped him past that mental hump," Christensen said.

There's one more thing that might be key, though.

Trey Lance retooled his throwing motion to avoid fatigue, injuries

It's one thing to watch a quarterback and see what he does or doesn't do. It's another to put practical matters into practice, and anyone who has been tasked with committing something to muscle memory can attest to that.

At any rate, one of the challenges Christensen apparently had with Lance was working on his throwing motion, one which apparently caused some "arm fatigue" back during Lance's rookie season after being drafted at No. 3 overall in 2021.

Read More: Debunking (somewhat) comments about 49ers QB Trey Lance having arm fatigue

Making things even more challenging, the year prior to his ankle injury, Lance suffered a broken finger in a preseason bout against the Las Vegas Raiders that also negatively impacted his ability to throw.

With some added work under Christensen's tutelage, Lance appears to have a lot of things fixed with the new throwing motion, as the quarterbacks coach pointed out:

"It’s a different feeling, and it can be kind of weird. And it can be kind of scary. And so it’s a whole different feeling when the ball leaves your finger. To his credit, he slowly kept applying and kept believing."

On top of that, Christensen said that Lance wasn't experiencing any fatigue or pain in his arm despite "involving 150 passes."

Whether or not any of this improves Lance's chances to reemerge as San Francisco's No. 1 option under center is anyone's guess, and that'll be another major hurdle to overcome.

For now, though, it's likely an important next step to increase those chances.

Read more 49ers news from Niner Noise