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Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance will get more first-team reps when the time is right

Mike Florio looks ahead to the 49ers-Chiefs preseason game, assessing how many snaps Trey Lance will get and examining how drafting the rookie QB is an indication Kyle Shanahan is transforming his coaching strategy.

49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance showed coach Kyle Shanahan “some good and some bad” in Saturday night’s preseason opener. It’s unclear when he’ll get more chances to show good, bad, or otherwise with the first-team offense.

Shanahan explained to reporters on Sunday that Lance will get more first-team reps when the time is right. So when will that be?

“I don’t know,” Shanahan said. “I haven’t really defined that for myself either. Just when I think it feels right, when he seems ready, when I think the team seems ready. I mean, we’ll continue to mix him in there. But I don’t plan on just doing that completely. But Trey, what he showed in that game is, you know, I wish I could have left them there longer. I know he enjoys playing and he’s only been able to play one game in over a year, but I think it was good for him to get out. I think he started out good, got a little excited sometimes which he does. And you get a little excited, some of your technique and stuff you lose which will be fun to watch with him. Trey’s a guy who’s tough on himself and loves to correct things and since we’ve had him he’s been very good at correcting mistakes.”

One mistake came with one of the four sacks he took. Shanahan was willing to pin that one on the quarterback for failing to get rid of the ball.

“I think the worst one was the one down in the red zone,” Shanahan said. “They did an all-out blitz and we were in an empty formation and he’s got to get rid of that to his hot throws. So that was the main one that was on him. On the other ones, you can always get rid of it when someone doesn’t hold up in protection too long, but I think it would have been tough to, especially some of the down and distance we were in. But there was one that he definitely needed to get rid of just because of the blitz that they brought.”

It’s all part of the learning process for Lance. And it’s part of the right balance the 49ers are striking between leaning on the veteran they eventually hope to replace with Lance and rolling the dice with the rookie.

Lance has two more preseason games, and plenty of practices over the next four weeks, before the 49ers decide whether to stick with the stated plan of starting Jimmy Garoppolo in Week One against the Lions or giving Lance the gig.