Steve Young believes how Trey Lance reacts to adversity will determine his level of success in the NFL.
The young 49ers quarterback has only one career loss to his name, and of course has yet to experience a losing season. Lance’s first loss as a starting quarterback came in Week 5 of his rookie season when he stepped in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
Challenges will inevitably come. But how Lance is able to recover from the rough times will have a strong influence on his future in the league.
“It’s going to be so iterative over time,” Young told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco on "49ers Talk." "He’s going to face how many filters and hurdles, the challenges. He’s going to be the old Mike Tyson [saying], ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’ He hasn’t been punched in the face. And I mean this in a metaphorical [way].
“You’re going to get punched in the face 50 times. Different reasons, different times, different things that happen and you have to right yourself, figure out what to do through it and we have to watch you do it.”
Lance already got his first taste of things not going his way when he suffered an injury of the index finger on his throwing hand in the third preseason game of 2021. The North Dakota State product had to develop a workaround -- throwing the ball without the ability to finish throws with his pointer finger.
Now, back to full health and with a year under his belt, Lance appears more confident and at ease behind center. Young believes confidence can go both ways. If the young play-caller isn’t ready for the challenges that will undoubtedly come, it could be an uphill battle.
“You’re going to watch Trey Lance for a couple games go, ‘I got this,’ ” Young said. “Trey doesn’t have it, you don’t have it. There are big are filters, There’s ‘I had a terrible game and people booed me at home’ filter. There’s a thousand things that have to happen that he’s got to live through and then we’ve got to watch how he responds.”
“These are not the things that he has seen before. He’s young. We’re going to have to watch him go through those filters. So much of the game, to get to where he wants to get is art. There’s an art part of it that you have to figure out on your own. It’s kind of like street smarts.
“It’s that guile that you kind of gain over a period of time that, 'I get what’s happening over here and this is what I’m going to handle here.' "
There definitely will be ups and downs in Lance’s NFL future, but how he comes away from both victories and defeats will shape his career. At the very least he has a great role model in Young who has already been willing to dive in as a resource for Lance.