Why Lance looked like 'deer in headlights' to Chris Simms


Trey Lance's second preseason game for the 49ers on Sunday night featured both highlights and lowlights once again, as the No. 3 overall draft pick threw a pair of touchdown passes but also had one pass intercepted.

NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms, who last week criticized Lance's inability to put touch on his passes, said the rookie once again came out looking like "a deer in the headlights" over the first few snaps.

"I think for the second week in a row what we saw at the start of the game reared its ugly head for a period or for a few series," Simms said Monday on PFT Live. "A little bit of like deer in the headlights, I don't want to mean he's overwhelmed physically, but a little bit like 'wait I'm in the pocket, it's collapsing, where do I get the ball out, do I throw it away, is there a back I can check the ball down to' instead he takes a sack.

"As you heard me say last week, my big point was every throw is a fastball, 100 miles per hour, you look at like the missed third-down conversion on his first series and then the interception on his second series, it's on him, it's an inaccurate, too hard of a football over the middle that of course is going to lead to bad things, and we saw, the ball goes up in the air and gets intercepted. So I'm still concerned with the ability to throw and dissect people from the pocket to a degree, but there is still some high-end talent to love and like about the player, certainly. I'm excited about him nonetheless, he just needs to play more and more."


Lance's first series ended in a three-and-out after a misfire that was behind Deebo Samuel, and his second series ended when he hit veteran Mohamed Sanu in both hands but the pass ended up being intercepted by the Chargers' defense.

As Simms mentioned, Lance found his bearings and ended up leading two drives that ended with touchdown passes.

RELATED: Lance points finger at himself for incompletions vs. Chargers

Lance clearly has a strong arm, and after such an extended time away from live game reps, the 21-year-old still is adapting to the speed of the professional game and how he can take something off on certain plays while unleashing all of that throwing power on other plays.

Much to the chagrin of 49ers and fantasy football fans everywhere, coach Kyle Shanahan wasn't willing to name his Week 1 starting QB after the second preseason game.

“I’m not making that announcement,” Shanahan said Sunday night. “It’s not the night.

“When? It’s hard for me to give a date when it’s based on when we know and we feel like naming it. So whenever that happens, but I promise it’ll be by that Sunday.”

Lance still has one more preseason contest against the Las Vegas Raiders on the docket before the 49ers' regular-season opener on Sept. 12 in Detroit against the Lions.

Whether he can show enough to win the job in that game vs. the Raiders, or whether incumbent QB Jimmy Garoppolo indeed will enter the season as the starter will be decided in the next few weeks.

Lance's comfortability from the jump should improve as he gets more and more live reps under his belt.

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