INGLEWOOD — Trey Lance’s ups and downs in the 49ers' preseason win over the Los Angeles Chargers are what Kyle Shanahan expected.
After six offensive series in the game, the rookie quarterback showed that while he still has a lot to learn, he also has the potential to be the future of the franchise.
Three dismal possessions that included only one completion and one interception left the quarterback with a 0.0 rating. The fact that Lance bounced back with a very productive two-minute drive to end the first half was a positive for Shanahan.
“I was happy for him,” Shanahan said. “You understand the situation that whatever Trey does, the eyes are going to be on him. I don’t want him to have that pressure but that’s the reality of this business.”
Lance ended the day completing eight of his 14 attempts for 102 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a much-improved 89.9 rating. Shanahan noticed improvement from the rookie through the two joint practices with the Chargers as well as in Sunday night’s game.
After the team’s preseason opener a week ago, Shanahan shared that he saw some regression of some of Lance’s fundamentals that he had previously improved upon in practice. The coach chalked up some of the issues to nerves of it being the quarterback’s first NFL game.
“This week I thought he came out much more locked-in and more comfortable.” Shanahan said. “I thought we had a chance to come out and start fast but we didn’t. Then it started to kind of stack up a little bit where it seemed to be going in the wrong direction.
“That’s why I was pumped to get that two minute drill at the end.”
After halftime, Lance went back out to play two more offensive series. The first was a four-play drive that only went 11 yards. The second was an 11-play, 70-yard drive that nearly lasted six and a half minutes. Only two plays went further than 10 yards -- an 11-yard pass to Richie James that gave the team a third-and-2 situation and the 16-yard laser to Travis Benjamin for a touchdown.
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Lance’s development and inconsistencies are all part of what Shanahan has been expecting from a quarterback who hasn’t played a live game in more than a year. Shanahan also knows that he is putting the 21-year old in game situations that are unfamiliar for him.
Without the need to prove his running ability on the field in a preseason game, Lance has been forced to stay in the pocket as a play breaks down. Shanahan knows this is a challenge for the rookie but has liked what he has seen thus far.
“You put him in situations where you’re practicing stuff that he hasn’t totally majored in and he hasn’t done a ton of, which makes it a lot harder for him,” Shanahan said. “I think that’s the good thing about these games. I think he’s a tough enough person mentally that no matter how it goes how do you improve from all of it.”