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Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance is going to come in and be the best he can be

Mike Florio and Chris Simms explain why Kyle Shanahan not declaring whether Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance will start puts the 49ers in danger of dividing the locker room, stunting Lance’s growth and more.

The 49ers had a wrench thrown into their plan to trade Jimmy Garoppolo when the quarterback had surgery on his throwing shoulder. But it still seems like the club is ready to move on to Trey Lance for the 2022 season.

At the annual league meeting on Tuesday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan touted Lance’s progress in his rookie season, praising the quarterback’s performance in the team’s Week 17 victory over Houston. Lance threw for 249 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception while rushing for 31 yards on eight carries in the 23-7 win.

But with Garoppolo still on the 49ers roster — and likely to remain there until another team is comfortable with Garoppolo’s health after his shoulder surgery — there’s a risk of the 49ers hindering Lance’s development.

Shanahan said it’s San Francisco’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“I think that’s what we work at all the time,” Shanahan said. “I understand the question and the perception, how it’s viewed. But nothing’s going on with his development. Trey’s working his tail off. He knows how I feel about him. He knows our expectations for him. And I think he’s got a lot of respect for Jimmy. But the situation’s clear. We were trying to make a move to add some draft picks and get it back. And I think we were pretty close to it. And then Jimmy ended up getting the surgery, which changes things.

“I think Trey will understand all that. I haven’t talked to him about it, but I think it makes sense to all these guys. Trey’s not an insecure guy. I think the situation makes sense, so there’s nothing sneaky going on about it. And he’s confident. He’s going to come in and focus on playing football, focus on beating however out he has to — whether it’s [Jimmy] or whether it’s Nate [Sudfeld]. He’s going to come in and be the best he can be.”

Shanahan noted he’s been in constant contact with Lance, who is training in Southern California to improve his throwing mechanics in preparation for the offseason program. While Shanahan didn’t name a starter for the 49ers in 2022 — he said he didn’t think he’s ever done that — signs point to Lance receiving plenty of work in OTAs to have every opportunity to claim San Francisco’s starting quarterback job as his own entering training camp.