Perhaps the person most unfazed by San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan’s pre-workout camp proclamation that the 49ers were now Trey Lance’s team was Lance himself.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Perhaps the person most unfazed by San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s pre-workout camp proclamation that the 49ers were now Trey Lance’s team was Lance him -same.
While some people outside the organization may have wondered if the Niners were willing to give an untested sophomore quarterback a contender, Lance had operated the entire offseason as a starter.
“Honestly, the only difference is I was hoping you’d stop asking me about this all the time,” Lance said after practice on Thursday. “But for me it wasn’t really a moment or anything like that. I was excited. I was prepared. I’ve been preparing to play since the day I got here, the day I was drafted. So obviously excited for this year but nothing has really changed this whole offseason.”
The Niners have been planning for this since trading three first-round picks to draft Lance third overall in 2021.
After having limited playing time in college at lower-tier North Dakota State, Lance spent most of his rookie season on the bench behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo as San Francisco headed for the NFC title game.
Lance made two starts when Garoppolo was injured and completed 41 of 71 passes for 603 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, while also rushing for 168 yards and a score as a rookie.
But he feels much better prepared this season.
“Last year I was definitely in a different mental situation, I would say,” he said. “I just feel a lot more confident this year, coming in, knowing what I’m doing, knowing the offense a lot better, knowing the guys a lot better. And having been in this organization, this coaching staff for a year. I think it will be a great thing.”
After a rather intense first day of practice, Lance struggled Thursday against the talented San Francisco first-team defense. He completed less than half of his passes in team drills and was picked by Jimmie Ward.
But Lance said he was happy with how the attack bounced back from his mistakes and he provided some highlights with a scrambled, well-placed pass from a deep ground to Brandon Aiyuk.
“We know our defense is really good, but I mean…one turnover is too much,” Lance said. “But just because we have a turnover, I think we turned the page very well. I thought the next few reps, for all of us, after our turnovers, we turned it around very quickly , which I think is a bigger part than not throwing pickaxes at all.”
As Lance leads the Niners’ attack, Garoppolo is still there. He makes an early throwing schedule each day as he returns from off-season shoulder surgery, but hasn’t been on the training ground as the Niners try to find a business partner for their former leaving.
Lance said it was good to see Garoppolo this week after not being together during the offseason program as Garoppolo rehabilitated in Southern California.
“It’s nothing weird at all,” Lance said. “I’ve never had anything bad to say about Jimmy. He’s been a big brother to me since the day I arrived. He could have done things for me honestly, the year He didn’t, he helped, so I’m super excited to see him healthy, super excited to see him pitch again, and super excited to see what he’s doing.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL