49ers aligned on future of franchise as Trey Lance era begins originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA — The Trey Lance era officially has begun for the 49ers.
Although Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the 49ers' roster, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch both made it clear when training camp opened Tuesday that the second-year quarterback will be the starter for the 2022 NFL season.
Shanahan and Lynch praised Garoppolo for what he helped the organization accomplish, but the team has turned the page.
“We have moved on to Trey,” Shanahan said in Santa Clara on Tuesday. “We are starting camp out this way. This is Trey’s team and that’s nothing against Jimmy. We made this decision a year ago and we are going with that, and we’re not going to mess around with that any more.”
Both George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk spoke to the media and shared their enthusiasm for Lance’s future in the spotlight. The All-Pro tight end is ready to be a reliable target for the young quarterback as he develops into his role.
“I can’t wait,” Kittle said. “The overall consensus would be is our best players are going to play their best football and we need to do our best to make it as easy as possible for Trey. While there’s going to ups and downs we need to play at a high enough level if Trey has a game where he throws a couple picks, it is what is, and we’re going to be playing well enough where we can win those games.”
Kittle said he has seen marked improvement from Lance since his arrival in Santa Clara a little over a year ago, but that is expected. Later, when “real bullets start flying,” Lance will truly be put to the test.
Juszczyk is another player who will add support, and reduce pressure on Lance in his first seasons as a starter. The Pro Bowl fullback is pleased that Shanahan was succinct in his announcement of the “changing of the guard” at quarterback, adding that it is really no surprise for the players or coaches in the building.
"I’m excited about it,” Juszczyk said. “I think we all see the potential. And I think with the people we have surrounded Trey with, his work ethic and what we saw through OTAs we feel he can reach that potential.”
Lance took all of the snaps with the first team during OTAs and mandatory minicamp. With a fully healed index finger on his throwing hand, he seemed more at ease both on and off the field, no longer in pain and able to straighten the finger completely.
Lance will now also speak to the media more regularly as the leader of the offense. That began during the offseason where he was open about the journey of his first NFL season, where he was a natural.
“I felt like we all kind of felt that, saw that in OTAs,” Juszczyk said. “So it’s not too much of a shocker or anything, but definitely excited for Trey and excited for us.”