Who wins 49ers QB2 job between Trey Lance, Sam Darnold? Kyle Shanahan isn't saying

If you thought Kyle Shanahan was going to tell you who the 49ers' primary backup quarterback was going to be, think again.
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Trey Lance (5) on either side of head coach Kyle Shanahan
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Trey Lance (5) on either side of head coach Kyle Shanahan / Ian Maule/GettyImages

While he might have a clear idea who the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback will be, Kyle Shanahan isn't revealing yet whether it's Trey Lance or Sam Darnold. And it might not matter anyway.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan probably has a good idea about who he wants to be his No. 2 quarterback behind the starter, Brock Purdy.

But if Shanahan is already sold on either Sam Darnold or Trey Lance, he isn't saying so.

At least not yet.

Two preseason games ahead of the 2023 regular season are in the books. Lance, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft, looked shaky and indecisive against the Las Vegas Raiders back in the first week of exhibition bouts, yet he bounced back nicely enough last Saturday against the Denver Broncos.

Darnold, however, might be more suited to what Shanahan wants in his offense. And of the three quarterbacks, Darnold is far more experienced.

All put together, and with the clear understanding that Purdy is No. 1 on the depth chart, is Shanahan revealing his hand about who he wants as the primary backup? Is that something that'll be revealed soon?

No. At least not according to the head coach himself.

Kyle Shanahan undecided on No. 2 quarterback, may wait until just before Week 1

Depth charts can be somewhat official. But even official versions aren't necessarily ones that coaches have to stick to. A coach can go from the first-string player to the third-string player while completely bypassing the player in between.

Regardless, fans want to know if Shanahan is naming Lance or Darnold as the No. 2 behind Purdy.

According to team reporter Lindsey Pallares, though, Shanahan has no interest in revealing his hand just yet. Per the report, he hasn't even made a decision yet:

San Francisco has one more preseason game, this Friday against the Los Angeles Chargers in what'll likly be the final tune-up before the regular season.

After that, the 49ers and the rest of the NFL will trim their rosters down to 53 players prior to the opening of the 2023 regular season, and the Niners begin that campaign with a Week 1 road contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. ET.

It's totally feasible that fans won't know who won between Lance and Darnold until that very weekend.

Maybe Shanahan wants it that way.

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