John Lynch says the decision rests on 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, but the 49ers general manager gave his assessment of the quarterback battle between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance on Friday.
"That's up to Kyle (Shanahan). That's up to our head coach," Lynch said on KNBR (h/t 49ers WebZone). "He makes the decisions on who's playing and what not. But I think it's Jimmy's right now and Trey's pushing. I think that's where it's at."
The 49ers have been adamant since Lance was chosen third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft that Garoppolo remains the starting quarterback of the immediate future. Although Lance has wowed all those in attendance at 49ers training camp through the first two weeks, Shanahan said Thursday the plan still is for Jimmy G to run with the ones in the first preseason game on Saturday.
Earlier this week in speaking to The MMQB's Albert Breer, Shanahan emphasized that it would be difficult for Lance to overtake Garoppolo before the season begins.
“I think it’s gonna be tough for [Lance] to win the job, just in terms of it being two different styles of quarterbacks, and maybe a little different style of offense for both of them,” Shanahan told The MMQB's Albert Breer. “I’d be very surprised if he did with the way Jimmy’s playing. It’d put a lot on a kid to do that. He’s doing everything he can. I’m very impressed with him so far, but I’d be very surprised if that happened.”
Ultimately, Garoppolo allows the 49ers the luxury of bringing Lance along at a comfortable pace, and not rushing him into action. Of the five teams that drafted quarterbacks in the first round of the 2021 draft, the 49ers have the best incumbent option in the building in Garoppolo.
Fans will be clamoring for Lance no matter what, especially if Garoppolo encounters any struggles. But the best-case scenario for the 49ers' success this season likely rests on Garoppolo staying healthy and performing well leading the offense week in and week out.
Until Lance takes over, however, this will be one of the most over-examined storylines of the NFL season.