The 49ers' gameplan in their Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals has been a big topic of conversation as San Francisco heads into the bye week at 2-3. The focus of the conversation has mainly centered on coach Kyle Shanahan's decision to lean heavily on rookie quarterback Trey Lance's ability to run the ball, leaving the rookie quarterback vulnerable to a number of hits.
The 49ers called nine designed runs for Lance, three read-option plays and the rookie scrambled four times which led to a total of 16 rushes for 89 yards.
49ers legend Steve Young believes Shanahan's gameplan speaks to how the coach feels about where Lance is in his development.
"That's not replicable, right?" Young told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" on Wednesday. "That's not something we can keep doing. Clearly, it was an effort to get him kind of in the mix. What is obvious to me is that [Lance] isn't trusted. Right? He's young, first game --- and look when I say not trusted people are going to overreact. What rookie in his first start is trusted? What I'm saying is that I don't want to put him in a spot where, I know for the fact that if I can get him on the run that's something he is very comfortable with and maybe we can get away with some things, but I think the Cardinals just played it really well. It wasn't like there were these big gashing runs. When the 11th guy out of the huddle, the quarterback, is running the ball, you hope you have the extra little blocker and the deception and not so many tough yards.
"You do not want Trey Lance running out there for the tough yards. Eighty percent of the yards the quarterback gets should be uncontested. That's the whole point."
It is clear that Shanahan knows Lance still is raw as a passer and was just trying to find a way to get out of Arizona with a win.
Jimmy Garoppolo appears to be trending toward returning for the 49ers' Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts after missing the game against the Cardinals with a calf injury. Lance sustained a knee sprain in the loss to Arizona, and his status for Week 7 is up in the air.
Overall, Young saw almost exactly what he expected from Lance in the rookie's first career NFL start.
"Well, I mean he is awesomely raw," Young said. "There is some stuff, but you know it is moving very quickly. Quarterbacking is about coming to a place where no matter how crazy it is, how intense the moment -- it's how quiet your mind is. When your mind is quiet and you own the data, and you own the moment, then your body, that's when the measure of you as an athlete comes out.
"It's a wonderful place to get to, but until it does you're always trying to get to manage your brain being overwhelmed with data, with trying to keep up, running from play to play, the pressure of it -- 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to screw up again!' A million thoughts come into your brain in the three seconds you drop back to throw the football. Your brain is just your own enemy for a long time. Trey is just scratching the surface."