The 49ers need to play Trey Lance more

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Trey Lance probably isn’t ready to start, but the 49ers certainly can use him more often than they do. He played three snaps in Sunday night’s loss to the Packers and it became evident for the second consecutive week that putting an additional playmaker on the field is a necessity for this iteration of San Francisco’s offense.

Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t necessarily been terrible. His mistakes are magnified some because of the increasingly powerful microscope put on him since the 49ers’ loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. However, it’s clear Garoppolo playing all but a couple snaps is not the most effective version of San Francisco’s offense.

Case in point: The Jets last season, led by head coach Adam Gase and quarterback Sam Darnold, had the NFL’s worst yards-per-play average at 4.7 yards. The 49ers are averaging 4.5 yards per play in their last two contests.

Lance played three snaps against Green Bay. He scored a one-yard touchdown on a run to the left at the end of the first half. He watched as Kyle Juszczyk ran under center to take a sneak for a yard on his second snap. His third play was down near the goal line and he was looking to throw off a boot action and the 49ers drew a defensive holding call.

Meanwhile the 49ers offense sputtered at too many spots to justify keeping Lance glued to the bench. He’s a weapon to give the defense something to think about if nothing else. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but having him in the game shakes up any kind of rhythm a defense might be in. His ability to run causes at least a little bit of hold up for a defense like Green Bay’s that was pinning its ears back for most of the second half.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan may not want to start Lance or think he’s ready to shoulder a full series of work, but he can and should do more than he’s doing. The mostly-Garoppolo offense has stalled for too long too many times over the last two weeks, and Garoppolo showed Sunday he’s prone to some of the rookie mistakes Shanahan might be afraid of Lance making.

It’s clear the rookie is talented, and his decision-making has been good for the most part. His roll out and throw to the back of the end zone on his third snap was a really nice play. His run off the left side for a touchdown was also well-executed. In seven snaps this season Lance has generated two touchdowns. He offers too much to let him stand on the sideline in a helmet while the 49ers rush for 3.2 yards per carry and get two turnovers from their quarterback.

The 49ers need a spark on the offensive side, and Lance is the player to provide it. All he has to do is play.

List

49ers vs. Packers: Quarter-by-quarter observations