Kyle Shanahan has said he wants 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance to see the field this season even with Jimmy Garoppolo being the starter in order to help the 21-year-old signal-caller develop.
While Lance did see the field Sunday in the 49ers' season-opening 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions, he did so sparingly., taking just four snaps (three rushes, one pass) and tossing one touchdown pass.
However, Shanahan isn't worried about Lance's limited snaps hurting his development.
“Because I think getting a guy any playing time when he's the number two quarterback helps his development more than getting no playing time," Shanahan said Monday when asked why he didn't think a limited number of snaps would be detrimental to Lance.
After starting in 16 games for North Dakota State in 2019, Lance played in just one game in 2020 as the Bison moved their football season to the spring with the rest of the FCS.
Lance's limited snaps showed what the 49ers hope their offense can evolve into by season's end. They want it to be an amoeba-like unit that can mutate depending on its opponent and dictate matchups by swapping Garoppolo and Lance in and out as Shanahan sees fit.
But that still seems to be a way down the road.
For now, this is Garoppolo's offense. The veteran signal-caller was efficient in the 49ers' Week 1 win over the Lions, showing that he has a better grasp of Shanahan's system in his fourth full season.
Lance is the future, and Shanahan wants him to keep developing. The coach sees any on-field time as a bonus for the talented rookie.