It certainly appears that the Trey Lance era has begun for the 49ers, even as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster.
As San Francisco continues to seek a trade for Garoppolo, all signs point to Lance starting under center in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears. 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead joined The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday, where he praised Garoppolo for the success the team experienced under his leadership and believes the criticism he received was not warranted.
"I think we've been close to the top of the mountain sometimes," Armstead said. "I feel that, obviously, when you don't win the Super Bowl, then people start pointing fingers and questioning why. Sometimes it's really not too many reasons. Not everyone can win each year. ... The quarterback position is obviously important, so he becomes the number one prime suspect of why we can't get over the hump.
"Is it fair? I would say, 'No, not fair.' I think Jimmy's a great quarterback, and like I said, I was part of a lot of losing seasons before he joined our team, and he brought a sense of a new refound energy at that position to help us win. I think he's obviously proven he's a phenomenal quarterback and can win games." (h/t 49ers Webzone)
With Garoppolo recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Lance was QB1 at mandatory minicamp and OTAs earlier this summer and has stepped up as a leader on offense. Armstead and 49ers teammates continuously have praised the 22-year old and are excited for the potential he has in the NFL.
"I'm really excited [about Lance]," Armstead added. "I love what I saw out of him in OTAs, even if it was a lot of 7-on-7. Only time will tell, but I think he has the right demeanor. He has an extremely high ceiling and an amazing skill set to be successful. I think he goes about things the right way. And I think when you have that combination, it usually turns into a [premium] player.
"I'm expecting great things from him. I'm excited to see what he's going to do, but he's not alone when he takes the field. Our team is very talented, and it's not just 'The Trey Lance Show.' He's surrounded by a lot of talented, great players, and we're all going to go out there and do what we can to help us win games. It's not just going to be on his shoulders."
Both coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have been vocal about the new direction the 49ers appear to be headed in at the quarterback position and still anticipate trading Garoppolo once he is able to start throwing again next month.
Until then, Lance will continue to prepare for his first full season under center.