Lance not receiving any snaps vs. Eagles no reason to panic

Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance

It's the easiest thing in the world to be a prisoner of the moment.

While Justin Fields was taking over for an injured Andy Dalton in Chicago and Mac Jones was playing distributor in his first career NFL win, Trey Lance calmly stood on the sideline as the 49ers got into an old-school brawl with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jimmy Garoppolo started the game 3-of-7. The 49ers trailed 3-0 until there were 12 seconds left in the first half. The way to attack the Eagles' defense built on interior pressure was to look outside the numbers -- throws Garoppolo was struggling to hit.

You didn't even need to glance at Twitter to know it was coming.

"Put in the kid, Kyle." Lifelong 49ers fans typed into their screams and fired off into the nether reaches of the internet.

"If Trey was in, we'd be up by 20." A fan with no football playing experience surely exclaimed somewhere in the South Bay.

But Lance never saw the field Sunday, and Garoppolo put on his hard hat and let the 49ers' to a gusty 17-11 win, sending the 49ers back to the Bay with a 2-0 record.

Shanahan said he thought about going to the Lance package, but decided to go a different direction.

You might think that Lance getting zero snaps in a game the 49ers needed to find an offensive spark says a lot about how Shanahan and the 49ers feel about the No. 3 overall pick and where he is at in his NFL development.


But all it says is that things are going exactly how the 49ers planned for them to go.

At this point in time, Shanahan and the 49ers trust Garoppolo, who now is 26-8 in his career as a starter, more than Lance, especially in tight, old-school games like the one that broke out Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

It's important to remember that Lance is just 21 years old and started only 17 games in college. He still is very green in terms of starting quarterback experience, and the 49ers, unlike the New England Patriots with Jones or Bears with Fields, don't need him to be the guy right now.

Lance's North Dakota State teams also were so dominant that Lance only recorded two games in which he threw 20 or more passes, and the Bison rarely faced third-and-long situations as they were able to bulldoze their opponents with a violent running game.

RELATED: Schrock's Week 2 observations: 49ers' offense searching for explosiveness

It was easy to see Lance's four snaps and a touchdown pass in Week 1 and believe that things would progress in a linear fashion from that point forward.

But Shanahan has given no indication that will be the case. He said he wants to get Lance game snaps to further his development but is not committed to a set number or even having Lance play at all.

The Lance draft pick was made for the future and because Garoppolo's injury-prone nature was becoming a problem.

The idea that Lance would arrive and be the guy from Day 1 based solely on some impressive training camp passes and preseason flashes was never based in reality.

Shanahan knows the 49ers can compete for a Super Bowl this season. He also knows that San Francisco can't afford to experiment in-game with Lance and risk a loss, especially in the NFC West. It's easy to believe a team will be a Super Bowl contender for the next five to 10 years, but that rarely is the case in the modern NFL. Shanahan knows that title chances can come and go in the blink of an eye, and he believes that an efficient Garoppolo gave the 49ers the best chance to win Sunday and likely will moving forward this season.

Perhaps, Shanahan read into Garoppolo's comments about the awkwardness of celebrating Lance's Week 1 touchdown and wanted his starting quarterback to feel confident the job was truly his.

Regardless, Lance spending the entire game as a spectator says nothing about the rookie or the 49ers' long-term belief in him.

Garoppolo has been solid through two weeks, and the locker room is his. The 49ers knew Lance would need time to develop and would probably prefer not to heap pressure on him right now unless absolutely necessary. The plan is for the 49ers to win while Garoppolo plays well and Lance gets to settle in slowly to life as an NFL QB.


That's all happening through the first two weeks. Lance will continue to grow and get more playing time, but if the next 16 weeks play out like the first two, it will be all smiles in Santa Clara.

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