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Kyle Shanahan: It’s going to be harder for Trey Lance to win starting job

Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down John Lynch’s remarks about enjoying having Trey Lance on the team but being willing to listen to anything, and discuss what’s best for the QB moving forward.

Trey Lance began last year as the 49ers starting quarterback.

But his time as QB1 didn’t last long, as he suffered a fractured ankle in just the second game of the season.

Because Brock Purdy’s elbow injury will keep him from participating in the offseason program, Lance will have a chance to take major reps this spring — though head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday that Sam Darnold will also get first-team reps, too.

But with Purdy’s on-field success last year, Lance has just an outside shot at being San Francisco’s starting quarterback when the 2023 season begins. But that may change if Purdy isn’t healthy by the start of the year.

“I think it’s going to be harder for him to [win the starting QB job],” Shanahan said Wednesday at the league’s annual meeting. “Brock played eight games. Trey had that job going into last season and if he would’ve played eight games like that, no one else would’ve been able to come in and beat him out. But with Brock being hurt, it does open him up. It does give him a chance.

“I don’t know how Brock’s going to come back. I don’t know exactly when he’s going to come back. So, I don’t have an exact answer for that. But right now, because he is hurt, it’s nice to focus on Trey, it’s nice to focus on Sam and see how they do at OTAs and — most likely — see how they’re playing leading into training camp because I think it will take some time for Brock.”

The N0. 3 pick of the 2021 draft, Lance has appeared in eight games with four starts, which means Lance has played very little football since the 2019 season, in part due to the pandemic. But Shanahan said Lance is doing well in his rehab and has been throwing.

“He’s been traveling around, working with some quarterback coaches throwing the ball and I’m excited to get into Phase I [of the offseason program] and we can start working together,” Shanahan said.

The head coach added that Lance’s attitude toward San Francisco’s QB situations is as good as it can be.

“Trey is a great person but he’s also smart and he knows what he saw. He knows the level that Brock played at so he understands that,” Shanahan said. “I’ve talked to Trey the same way I’m talking to you guys now, so he gets it.

“Trey’s just excited to be healthy and excited to come in and get those reps and show what he can do.”