Why Young sees 49ers' QB situation as 'fraught with terror'

Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo

After one week, the 49ers' unique quarterback situation appears to be in a good place.

Jimmy Garoppolo was on-point in the 49ers' 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions while Trey Lance took just four snaps and tossed his first career touchdown pass.

The 49ers are 1-0 and Garoppolo is playing well as San Francisco works to get develop its QB of the future. But while all seems well, former 49ers QB Steve Young believes the Niners have placed themselves in a precarious position with Garoppolo and Lance.

“The whole thing is fraught with terror, right?” Young told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" on Wednesday. “As we said before in the offseason, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan could not have screamed any louder to any of us. They went all in, in a year they thought they’d have a shot, to go from 12 to the top five, for the generation that is going to be John and Kyle’s signature. They decided, we don’t want Jimmy to be our quarterback…but yet here we are.

“So when I say fraught with terror, it’s because Jimmy is such a great guy, and he’s so beloved in the locker room, and he’s successful and wins, that he’s going to continue with just play it out," Young continued. "But you’ve got to understand the trajectory of what’s the underpinnings of that decision that happened in the spring. They are going to play Trey Lance. They’re going to force the issue. Win or Lose.”


When the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs' situation with Alex Smith was brought up as an analogy, Young pointed to the awkwardness of having Smith believe he had the ability to keep his job and how the 49ers could find themselves in an odd situation depending on what they have told Garoppolo.

"I agree with what Andy [Reid] did with Patrick," Young said. "Patrick would agree with it as well. I agree with it as a plan. The awkwardness is that Alex Smith, he played that season for his job -- not to leave, he believed he was going to be the guy for a long time. And they let him believe that. What are they doing here? That's why I'm telling you it's fraught with terror because what have they told Jimmy? Like 'play as hard as you can and you're going to go,' or 'no, Jimmy you can still save your job.' I think that's what is so hard. And I'm not against the creative tension because they are both good guys. Trey and Jimmy are great guys. However this works out, it will be the best for the 49ers. I just feel for Jimmy to be sitting in this space where he doesn't know what is going to happen."

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Coach Kyle Shanahan has said he wants to make sure Lance gets snaps so he can continue to develop after playing in just one game last season. Shanahan doesn't believe giving Lance limited snaps will curtail the rookie's development, but Young believes the 49ers will look to get Lance more plays as the season goes regardless of how well Garoppolo plays.

“I think they’ll look for more and more opportunities to put Trey in because, in the end, that’s what they’ve spoken that they’re going to do. And that’s why I say it’s fraught with terror because, wait a second, what if Jimmy goes undefeated? Wins a Super Bowl? I think it’s going to be fascinating, but the underpinnings of that decision the spring, you need to hold tight to because they are holding tight to it, they are not going to just forget that they went all-in for Trey Lance.”

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