Kyle Juszczyk let his Harvard roots shine on Wednesday.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has been criticized over the past week for running Trey Lance consistently between the tackles, only to watch the second-year quarterback suffered a season-ending ankle injury on a rushing attempt Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Juszczyk defended Shanahan’s usage of Lance to 95.7 The Game’s Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto by sarcastically using lessons learned in his alma mater’s classrooms.
“I was a math major at Harvard, so I’m gonna drop some math on you,” Juszczyk said. “When you flip a coin, 50 percent it’s gonna be heads or tails. That never changes how many times you flip the coin. You get tails 10 times in row, that 11th time, it’s still 50-50.
"What I’m trying to get at and how it correlates with Trey -- he broke his ankle. That’s a fluke injury. That’s not something that comes with wear and tear. That’s not something that comes with, ‘Man, I’ve run the ball five times this game, my ankle’s getting weak, it’s gonna snap on the sixth run.’”
Lance underwent ankle surgery Monday and will miss the rest of the season. His 2022 season stat line reflects the 49ers' early-season usage with more rushing attempts (16) than completed passes (15).
"Trey’s a big, strong guy,” Juszczyk said. “He can do a good job running between the tackles. It’s not necessarily that much safer running on the outside than the inside. These are all NFL defenses. Quarterbacks run all over this league. I really gotta come to Kyle’s defense here. I didn’t think he was in putting Trey in a bad position. I think he was putting Trey in a good position.
“Yeah, he was asked to asked to run some run plays, but I think it was a strength of his and a strength of our team,” Juszczyk continued. “That really puts defenses in bind. Yes, he might have been on a pace to be more than all these other guys in history, but I don't think that was going to continue. Eventually that was gonna set up a lot of things for our offense."
With Lance out for the year, Jimmy Garoppolo takes over as the team's quarterback. But the 49ers haven't forgotten about Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick who was promised to be the future of the franchise.
“Unfortunately, you have to move on at quarterback,” Juszczyk said. ”Jimmy is quarterback now. We have to win now. We can’t sulk over Trey being out. We support him, of course. We’re all reaching out and making sure he’s OK.”
Garoppolo will get his first start at quarterback since the 49ers' loss to the Los Angeles Rams in last year's NFC Championship Game when San Francisco pays a visit to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.