The idea raised many eyebrows when Kyle Shanahan first broached the subject. The thought of the Super Bowl-ready 49ers playing both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance was one that never seemed to be based in reality.
Either Garoppolo would keep his starting job, or Lance would beat him out. Surely, Shanahan was just toying with the media again when he said he'd be fine playing both signal-callers and alternating based on matchups, situations and the like.
But here we are, nine days from the 49ers' season-opening tilt against the Detroit Lions and it appears the 49ers will roll with some semblance of a QB rotation. Or, at the very least, will sprinkle in a Lance package to keep defenses off balance while giving Garoppolo the bulk of the early-season snaps.
It's a plan that many are skeptical of, but Hall of Famer Warren Moon believes it could benefit all parties involved.
"Well, I don't think he's going to go with a two-quarterback system," Moon told 95.7 The Game on Thursday. "I think he is going to have a package of plays for Trey to come in and give the defense a different look like he did last week. But I don't think they are going to do that throughout an entire football game, as far as, 'You got this series and you alternate the next.' I don't think it's going to happen like that. I think it's going to be more like what New Orleans was doing with Taysom Hill and Drew Brees. He was more of a gadget guy. He came in in certain situations and gives the defense something else to have to prepare for every week.
"It gives Trey a chance to get his feet wet as far as playing football in the NFL, and then another reason [it can work] is that it keeps Jimmy from possibly getting hurt. It gets him off the field a little bit. He's not out there play-in and play-out. His biggest Achilles' heel has been staying healthy because he has played pretty well whenever he has been healthy. So, I think [Kyle Shanahan] is trying to accomplish a lot of things by doing this, and a lot of teams don't have the luxury to do this, but the 49ers do right now."
Lance has been out of practice this week due to a small bone chip fracture on his throwing hand that he suffered in the 49ers' preseason finale against the Raiders. The 49ers expect Lance to return to practice Monday, but are being cautious with the finger injury.
Having Garoppolo gives the 49ers the luxury to not rush Lance back and to ease the rookie into NFL life slowly rather than tossing him in the deep end and seeing if he can swim.
It's rare to see a team with legitimate championships aspirations feel comfortable playing two quarterbacks. But Shanahan trusts Garoppolo and knows Lance gives the 49ers a wrinkle that will be tough to gameplan for and defend. It's a unique situation, but one that could end up being the secret sauce to a Super Bowl title.