49ers

Shanahan has long admired Lance's dual-threat capabilities

49ers

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has experience working with the dual-threat and pocket passing quarterbacks from his time as an assistant coach with the Washington Commanders and Atlanta Falcons. 

While speaking with NFL Network's Steve Mariucci and Michael Yam on Tuesday, Shanahan discussed his admiration for Trey Lance's ability to use his arm and legs since his time at North Dakota State as the 22-year-old now takes over as the 49ers starter. 

"That's what I enjoyed watching him in college so much for because you were able to see both [skill sets]," Shanahan said about Lance. 

"It was at a much lesser level, and it was only for a year of football, so you didn't have a ton to go off of, but you saw, the offense that they ran when he did do drop backs, you saw him play in the pocket, go through progressions, and then you saw him be unbelievable as a runner."

During his time as Washington's offensive coordinator from 2010 to 2013, Shanahan worked with Robert Griffin III, who didn't hesitate to get outside the pocket to make a play with his arm or legs. 

Then with the Atlanta Falcons, Shanahan had Matt Ryan, the prototypical quarterback who remains in the pocket regardless of the chaos and looks to make the pass. 

As a result, Shanahan understands how to get the best out of a dual-threat and pocket passing quarterback, which is why the franchise felt confident in selecting Lance despite having limited tape at the college level. 

 
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Nonetheless, what the 49ers did see on film was enough for them to trade up from the No. 12 to No. 3 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Although Lance has the keys to the franchise, Shanahan understands that the young quarterback still has room to grow while possessing the tools to be successful. 

"That's what I like with Trey because I've seen both [skill sets]," Shanahan said. "I know he understands that he's got to work at both, and that's something him and I, and the rest of this team, will work through together."

With Lance now as the full-time starter, Shanahan is taking a risk since the young signal caller is replacing a veteran quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, who led the team to Super Bowl LIV in 2020 and the 2022 NFC Championship Game. 

However, Shanahan might feel having a quarterback that can hurt defenses with his arm and legs is a risk worth taking that allows his squad to reach another level this upcoming 2022 NFL season. 

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