Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos was another stepping stone for 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. He needs all the game reps he can get, and the coaching staff understands as much, which is why Lance played and dropped back more than the other two Niners quarterbacks.
Unfortunately, for Trey, his game reps will come to an end barring an injury or specific packages for him during the regular season, as Brock Purdy is the starting quarterback. Lance just turned 23 in June. There were 23-year-olds who were drafted in April. That’s how young Trey is, and gives you an idea of how much football he has in front of him.
The best outcome for Lane during the regular season is to make the most of his practice reps against the 49ers starting defense, make mistakes, learn from them, and continue to develop behind the scenes.
After Saturday’s preseason game against Denver, quarterback Russell Wilson offered up some advice for Lance, and explained the situation Trey is currently in:
“The thing about trey that people have to understand is that I believe he’s 23 years old. The guy got drafted at 20 years old with the weight of the world on his shoulders. I think that the thing about it is he’s a tremendous football player. He’s got a lot of gifts, he’s got a lot of talent, and it’s going to turn for his good.”
Lance’s talent is easy to spot, as we can see his arm strength, and how he looks when he’s decisively pushing the ball down the field. Plus, when you add in his skillset as a runner, the floor is higher than most give Lance credit for.
The issues are obvious, too. Trey still makes rookie mistakes. On Saturday, he’s throwing off his back foot to the running back and was fortunate to not throw an interception. Lance also had another near turnover when he failed to identify the linebacker coming from the other side in coverage.
And, honestly, that’s OK! He’s supposed to make mistakes. Every quarterback who has played as much football as Lance has messes up. But not every QB is on a team that needs to win now.
Wilson believes Trey needs to continue to put his head down and work, while ignoring the outside world:
“Trey’s a guy that’s worked at his craft, watching him and just all the things he’s done. But also, the best thing that Trey can do is ignore the noise. There’s only so many people in the world that get to play this position. There’s only so many people in the world that get to step in between the white lines on a National Football League field. He’s one of them.
He’s a guy that’s going to have a great career. He’s just got to keep working at it and know that there’s going to be some tough days, there’s going to be some great days.
It’s one of those things that you trust the process. You trust the process, you enjoy the journey, and you have tunnel vision. You put the blinders on, you keep working, and there’s always a breakthrough. I’m rooting for him. I think he’s got a lot of talent, a lot of ability, and a lot of years left.”
When the 49ers drafted Lance, they had hopes that Lance’s breakthrough would have happened by the 2023 season. Of course, circumstances out of his control haven’t allowed for Trey to prove himself for a full season yet.