Trey Lance received his first NFL exposure snapshots in Week 1, and he made them memorable.
In the first drive he appeared in, Lance put the 49ers on the board with his first touchdown of the season, making a 5-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield. Next week? He rode on the pine, sitting through the entirety of the Week 2 matchup against the Eagles.
This week, San Francisco faces a tough challenge, welcoming the Packers to Levi Stadium for their “Sunday Night Football” showdown. Lance certainly won’t start, but when facing a Green Bay defense that has seemed susceptible from the start, Lance could be a secret weapon coach Kyle Shanahan could turn to.
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Lance’s college success
Lance proved during his college career that he is a dynamic talent.
He appeared in just 19 games in the state of North Dakota (the 2020 campaign was downgraded to one game due to the COVID1-9 pandemic), but his career numbers were fantastic. He completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 2,947 yards with 30 touchdowns and just one interception. On the ground, he took 192 carries 1,325 yards and scored 18 times on the ground.
Most of that came during his freshman red jersey campaign, when he threw 28 touchdowns without interceptions and set an NDSU first-year record with 1,100 rushing yards. He ran at least 50 yards in nine of the team’s 16 games.
In the FCS national championship game against James Madison, he ran for a single game of 181 yards on 30 carries and scored a touchdown while helping lead the team to a 28-20 victory.
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Shanahan’s Lance Plan
Shanahan insists that he is not going to use Lance just to use him, and that he will only deploy him if the game plan calls for it.
“No, I never have a plan that says ‘Hey, I’m going to use it or I’m not going to use it.’ It’s always an option throughout the game,” Shanahan said. according to the 49ers. “It’s been two games, and I never had it in the first few games, and I never had it as a designated time. I plan to do it week by week and whenever I feel like putting it on. You saw when I did it in Week 1, and I never had that momentum. in Week 2. “
Shanahan also said that instead of just gaining experience in the live game, he wants to bring in Lance more just as a means to attack opposing defenses. He said the team is just trying to win games.
He added that when the team has a quarterback who brings a different skill set, it forces teams to prepare for him every week and that he is “an incredible club that we have at our bat that we can use at any time.”
“But you don’t really make decisions based on your team to put a man totally alone because of what he’s like for him in the future. I think that would be irresponsible to everyone else in the room. You do if I think it gives you a chance based on what’s happening in that game, just in that game, “Shanahan said. “In the meantime, yeah, it’s good for a guy to come out. But if it wasn’t that he was bringing a different element that we thought might help us with something we’re going against, there’s no other reason we would.”
Jimmy Garappolo has not been a star in any way, but he has also done enough to help the team win. He completed 70.9 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and 503 yards, and rushed 14 times for 22 yards and a touchdown.
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Packers’ struggles with mobile quarterbacks
The Packers defense hasn’t gotten off to a great start this year. They coughed up 38 points in a big loss to the Saints in Week 1 and gave up 17 to the Lions in a 35-17 win.
What’s perhaps worse is how Jameis Winston and Jared Goff were able to compete against Green Bay. Winston ran six times for 37 yards. It was only the eighth time in 77 games that he ran for more than 30 yards. Goff rushed four times for 46 yards in a career-high performance for twice his previous best. Only three times in his career has he rushed more than 20 yards in a game.
The Packers have been fortunate that they haven’t faced many mobile quarterbacks in the past. They have never faced Lamar Jackson. They have never faced Kyler Murray. They have faced Russell Wilson six times and he has rushed 31 times for 201 yards.
If the 49ers decide to use Lance in the game, he would arguably bring the most mobile skill set Green Bay has faced since taking on Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, of course, has had some incredible games against Green Bay. In the 2013 postseason, he rushed 16 times for 181 yards and scored twice. In 2014, he ran seven times for 98 yards.
Sure, it’s a few years away from Kaepernick’s days, but the Packers have routinely shown themselves to be vulnerable to mobile quarterbacks, and it hasn’t helped that they haven’t faced many so they can improve by covering them.
Especially for a 49ers team that has suffered injuries to its best running backs, adding a mobile threat like Lance to the fold would force the Packers to worry about covering Lance’s legs and the running back.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.