What Shanahan has seen from Lance before 49ers play Texans


Rookie quarterback Trey Lance could go from holding a clipboard to starting under center this Sunday for the 49ers at Levi's Stadium in a game against the Houston Texans that is full of playoff implications. 

Everything changes, but everything remains the same for the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. At least that's why his head coach says. 

“No, I wouldn’t say he is doing extra work," Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday to reporters. "He's been preparing like he's going to start every week, so he's kind of developed a routine throughout this year that it's no different for him whether he is the backup or the starter."

Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a Grade 3 UCL sprain in his right throwing thumb during the 49ers' 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans one week ago. Garoppolo is confident he can play through the pain this Sunday, but walked off the practice field Wednesday before the team throwing session began. 

If Garoppolo can't go, Lance would start his second career game as a pro. He hasn't attempted a pass in a game since he started the 49ers' Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Lance started for an injured Garoppolo in that Week 5 loss and completed 15 of his 29 pass attempts for 192 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown and was intercepted once. 

Lance also led the 49ers in rushing yards against Arizona with 89 yards on 16 carries. 


Shanahan knows he can't expect the 21-year-old to be perfect if he does start this Sunday, but he does believe we'll see an improved QB. 

"He'll get more playing time, more practice this week, and if he plays, he'll get a whole other game, and I'm sure it won't be perfect," Shanahan said. "But I think he's been doing a better job in all areas the more he has gotten practice in.”

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Start or sit, Lance is sticking to what he knows best: His routine. 

"I think he's excited because he sees, early in the week, that he's got a chance, a possibility of starting, and he gets to definitely start a practice today. I know he is excited for that, but his routine's the same," Shanahan said.

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