After announcing Monday that Trey Lance will be sidelined for a week with a finger injury, Kyle Shanahan shared his thoughts on the rookie’s progress.
“I think he's gotten better with each game,” Shanahan said. “He’s gotten better throughout the whole process. Something he'll keep having to work on, though, every single week, every single day throughout his entire career also.”
Lance has wowed staff and fans alike with his ability to throw the ball downfield and his mobility. Throughout all three preseason contests, however, he exhibited signs of rust after not playing in a live game since October of 2020.
At the beginning of training camp, Lance looked like he might start for the 49ers in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. There were practices where he threw more than 10 consecutive completions in team drills.
But in the 49ers' first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Lance was only able to connect on five of his 14 pass attempts for 128 yards. 80 of those yards came on a long touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield.
Over his three exhibition game appearances, Lance completed 18 of his 32 attempts (56.2 percent) for 276 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also added a score on the ground.
An argument could be made that Lance's statistics were negatively impacted as a result of predominantly playing with the second team. But after the preseason opener against Chiefs, Shanahan mentioned that the rookie had taken a few steps back with his fundamentals.
While he has had his struggles, Lance still has sky-high potential. Jimmy Garoppolo has explained how understanding Shanahan’s offense is a challenging undertaking, having come into training camp this season with his best command of the offense after nearly four years with the club.
Is Lance's progress what Shanahan expects from a rookie quarterback?
“Yeah, definitely,” Shanahan said. "Exactly what you expect."