Jimmy Garoppolo is currently the 49ers’ starting quarterback, but the team’s first preseason game will be all about Trey Lance. The 49ers plan to showcase the No. 3 overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft and get him plenty of reps to kickstart his NFL career.
Kyle Shanahan’s plan is to play Garoppolo and the starting offense for one series, per ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. After that, it will be Lance’s time to shine, as the 49ers coach confirmed he plans to play Lance “about 30 snaps” with the backup offense.
“I’m just excited to see him play like everyone else is,” Shanahan said of Lance’s debut. “It’s fun to watch quarterbacks go out there for the first time. But I don’t get nervous for the person or anything like that because I think it’s fun to watch. I know no one is going to remember how his first preseason game is, but they will the next day. That’s all right.”
Lance is similarly excited about his preseason debut, though he’s mainly focused on settling into his new routine at the NFL level.
“Oh, (I’m) super excited,” Lance said. “Excited to go out and compete with this locker room of guys. And kind of at the same time, everything’s new. … So, just being able to get used to everything — everything from the hotel the night before the game to pregame warmup. Everything’s going to be new, but at the same time, football is football.”
Lance is making a big jump in competition from the FCS to the NFL and may need to shake off some rust on Saturday night. The North Dakota State product has played just one live game since the 2019 FCS season ended, as the FCS moved its 2020 season to the spring of 2021 as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Lance struggled a bit with his accuracy in his 2020 start. He went 15-of-30 for 149 yards, two TDs and an interception during the game but added ran for 143 yards and two scores. During the preseason, he’ll look to regain his sharper form from 2019, when completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions while running for 1,100 yards and 14 TD.
No matter how he looks, Shanahan is just hoping Lance won’t put too much pressure on himself as he eases his way into NFL action.
“I think Trey is going to make the team so he doesn’t have to go out there and freak out about that,” Shanahan joked. “He knows a lot of eyes will be on him. Sometimes those guys want to go out there and make some plays and show everyone what to be excited about. I just always try to tell them, ‘It’s just like practice except they can hit you, so just calm down and just do your job like you try to do every day out here.’ Because that’s what quarterback is going to be every single day of your life until you’re done playing.”