John Lynch clearly wishes Jimmy Garoppolo was healthy enough to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, but the 49ers general manager also recognizes the benefit of rookie Trey Lance receiving first-team reps under center in the veteran's place.
"The great news is that Trey's gotten a lot of valuable reps [this week]," Lynch said Friday on KNBR (h/t 49ers Webzone). "I think that's the tough thing in this league. You're trying to develop Trey, but starters typically get 95 percent of the reps, if not more, in the NFL, so it's hard to get a backup reps. So, if anything good of this has come, Trey's got a bunch of reps, and he's really responded in good fashion."
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo wanted to give it a go at practice Friday after missing the entire week leading up to it, but the veteran quarterback ended up not taking the field with his teammates. That opens the door for Lance to make his first NFL career start Sunday against the undefeated Cardinals.
Lance took over for Garoppolo in the second half of the 49ers' Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Lance was 9-for-18 passing with 157 yards, and found Deebo Samuel for two touchdowns.
Now that Lance is taking over the starting job for this week, those first-team reps will be critical.
Arizona has forced the third-most turnovers in the NFL through four weeks, so Lance will need to be careful. Lynch sounded confident Friday morning that Lance could handle the assignment.
Get your popcorn ready for Sunday.