Gruden believes facing Lance now will help Raiders later

Jon Gruden

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' defense has experienced valuable reps from facing rookie quarterback Trey Lance in practice, and Raiders coach Jon Gruden believes his team received the same on Sunday. 

The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t play their starters in their preseason loss to the 49ers, but the lopsided 34-10 contest still was a valuable experience for Gruden and his staff. The Raiders will face Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens later in the season, and the preseason finale will help their preparation for the matchup. 

“We were talking about it on sideline,” Gruden said Sunday. “We were definitely talking about that on the sideline. We'll have our hands full, certainly with Lamar and the Ravens. We'll deal with that when we have to deal with it."  

The 49ers will face mobile quarterbacks at least four times in Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. In previous years the 49ers have had to recruit a player on the roster to emulate a mobile quarterback in the week leading up to the game.

This season, the 49ers' defense will have months of prep thanks to Lance.

“I saw him run a lot of zone reads today,” Gruden said. “I know he could do that, he did that college, so I didn't really have a chance to see him. I watched him carefully in pregame. He's a great looking kid and I met him in the offseason process.


"He's got a huge upside and they got two good young quarterbacks.”

Even though Kyle Shanahan swapped quarterbacks a multitude of times throughout the first two offensive drives, there is no guarantee he will do the same when it comes to Week 1. The head coach wanted to test both Jimmy Garoppolo and Lance logistically, as well as himself in being able to make the calls. 

RELATED: Lance assesses first training camp, preseason with 49ers

Shanahan likely will use the possibility of exchanging quarterbacks to try to keep opposing defenses on their toes, as he did on Sunday. The 49ers out-gained the Raiders in total offensive yards, 375 to 212. 

Raiders defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, like Gruden, saw facing Lance as valuable experience that will help the defense in the upcoming regular season. 

“Yeah, of course,” McCoy said Sunday. “You need to. And really a lot of it is just reading [plays] and playing what you see with an offense like that. They draw it up so well that it's a lot of window dressing, a lot of smoke and mirrors to get you to look all over the place for something simple.

"And they're one of the best in the league at doing that.”

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