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49ers' red-zone defense makes it difficult for Lance at camp

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SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Trey Lance and the 49ers’ offense had their first look at going up against the team’s formidable defense in the red zone.

The windows were tighter and they quickly slammed shut.

Lance had difficulty finding anyone open, which forced him to show some of the athleticism that prompted the organization to select him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

“It was the first day in pads and we got to see the full effect of everything he can do,” 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw said of Lance.

“You really got to be on your details with the defense. Everybody has to be on the same page because all it takes is one guy to make a mistake and he’s more than athletic and fast enough to make defenses pay.”

During the course of the practice, Lance took off running five times and would have scored two touchdowns with his legs.

He completed five of 11 pass attempts with touchdown throws of 8 and 4 yards to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle, respectively.

Lance threw an interception for the fourth consecutive day of practice. Defensive end Kemoko Turay pressured Lance out of the pocket. Cornerback Charvarius Ward, the standout of the first five practices of training camp, came away with a pass intended for fullback Kyle Juszczyk near the front right pylon of the end zone.

Veteran left tackle Trent Williams observed that Lance is getting great preparation for the regular season during his first summer as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. Lance takes over for veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who remains on the 49ers' 90-man roster while the club attempts to trade him.


Williams said it is apparent during film study that Lance often has few options on pass plays with the way the team’s defense is playing at all three levels.

“That’s what really gives me the most confidence in watching him versus a very fast, very intense, very smart, knowledgeable defense,” Williams said. “That’s a tough outing for a quarterback.

“They don’t give him anything easy. So anything you see, he worked for it. He made some adjustments and he got himself in the right position. Going against a defense like that is the greatest tool he can use.”

Lance’s best play of the day came after his interception when he fired a 35-yard pass down the field for Aiyuk, who made the catch against tight coverage from Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.

RELATED: How Garoppolo's throwing progress looked at 49ers training camp

Aiyuk and Kittle have been Lance’s favored targets through five days of training camp.

All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel stepped on the field for the first time this summer after signing a contract extension through the 2025 season. Samuel caught two short passes from No. 2 quarterback Nate Sudfeld during 11-on-11 drills.

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