After getting four snaps in the 49ers' Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions, rookie quarterback Trey Lance did not see the field in San Francisco's Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
While it might appear that coach Kyle Shanahan is being sporadic with Lance's involvement in the offense, general manager John Lynch knows that's not the case.
"It's an organic thing. I talk to Kyle, but it's all under that Shanahat. It's given the flow of the game, if we use him, how we use him," Lynch told KNBR's "Murph and Mac" on Friday. "I don’t think it’s impulsive. He puts so much work in it and is so great at play calling."
Following the 49ers' win over the Eagles, Shanahan explained why Lance didn't play in Week 2 and how the rookie's role in the offense will vary from week to week.
“No, I never have a plan that ‘Hey, I'm going to use him or I'm not going to use him.’ It's always an option throughout the game," Shanahan told reporters Monday. "It’s been two games and I've never had him in the openers and I've never had him as a designated time. I plan on doing that week-to-week and whenever I feel like putting him in. You saw when I did in Week 1 and I never got that urge in Week 2.”
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However, the 49ers coach understands why the belief is that the No. 3 overall pick should get consistent snaps.
“Yeah, I understand every angle that people want to take with it," Shanahan said. "But I also understand that we're an NFL team and we're trying to win each game and we do have a starting quarterback and that usually makes it pretty simple. But when your backup quarterback does have a skill set that can bring different things to the game, that's what gives him an option for us to do. He has something that someone has to prepare for week in and week out. And I think that's an awesome club that we have in our bag that we can use at any time.
"But you don't really make decisions based off your team of just putting a guy in totally just for how that is for him in the future. I think that'd be irresponsible to everybody else in the room. You do it if you think it gives you a chance based off of what's going on in that game, that game only. In the meantime, yeah, it's nice for a guy to get out there. But if it wasn't because he was bringing a different element that we thought could help us with something that we're going against, there's no other reason that we would do it.”
The 49ers' offense lacked explosiveness in Week 2, and Lance could have offered a jolt with his ability to attack defenses deep and at the boundary. But Shanahan didn't feel inserting the rookie into a tight, grind-it-out affair was the best thing for his team.
Lance's four snaps in Week 1 appeared to offer a glimpse into what the 49ers hope their offense can look like later this season.
When the 49ers elected to take Lance with the No. 3 overall pick, they knew he would need time to develop but also knew his ceiling was too high to pass up.
The hope was that Jimmy Garoppolo would play well enough this season that the 49ers could contend for a Super Bowl without having to put too much on Lance's shoulders.
Things have gone according to plan so far. Garoppolo has been solid and the 49ers are 2-0 as they prepare to face the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. As long as Garoppolo is playing well and the 49ers are winning, Shanahan can stick to the plan.
Lance will get more snaps as the season goes on and as the matchup dictates. But it won't be a linear progression. It all depends on what is cooking under the Shanahat.