SANTA CLARA -- With the 49ers making the transition from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance, certain elements of the offense will be changing, too.
The most noticeable difference with Lance taking over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback will be his ability to keep plays alive with his mobility and stretching the field with his strong arm.
“I’m looking forward to a lot of plays that are off-schedule,” 49ers Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle said on Tuesday. “I think that’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“Instead of a five-second play, it lasts for 10 seconds. It’s hard to cover somebody for 10 seconds. I feel like I can get open from someone in 10 seconds. I think Trey will be able to do that a lot, and I’m getting used to that style of football.”
In his only season as a starter at North Dakota State, Lance threw 28 touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 scores.
“That’s where Trey can really be dynamic is when the play does break down, he has the athleticism to make the defense pay for it,” 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said.
Lance played the equivalent of 2 1/2 games as a rookie after the 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall and selected him in the 2021 NFL Draft. He threw for 603 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also gained 168 yards and a touchdown on 38 rushing attempts.
Kittle said he is looking to build an on-field rapport with Lance and earn his trust.
“I think I’ve had pretty good success with every quarterback that I’ve played with so far here,” Kittle said. “Luckily, too, I played with young quarterbacks when I was also young. C.J. [Beathard] and Nick Mullens were both very young quarterbacks when I was with them.
“Just being able to build a relationship with them, whether it’s an outlet or, “Hey, I’m just going to throw you the ball regardless, so I hope that you’re open.’ That’s the kind of relationship I’m looking to build with Trey.”
The 49ers are likely to have more big-play potential with Lance at quarterback. In the 18 games Garoppolo started last season, he connected on nine pass plays of 40 yards or more. Lance had three passes of 40 yards or more in his limited action.
“I’m excited about his big-play ability,” Juszczyk said of Lance. “It felt like Trey was hitting a lot of deep shots in OTAs. So I’m excited to see that carry over.”