The case for playing Trey Lance

It’s time for the Bay area to become the Trey area.

Sunday was not a banner day for rookie NFL quarterbacks. Picks one and two from last spring’s draft Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson continued to throw the ball to the wrong team, and are now tied for the league lead in interceptions thrown at seven.

11th overall pick Justin Fields and the Bears offense produced just 47 total yards against the Browns in Cleveland. Yes, a real NFL team could not produce half a football field worth of yards throughout an entire game.

15th overall pick Mac Jones threw three interceptions himself and continues to shy away from throwing the ball more than eight yards downfield.

Growing pains are expected with rookie quarterbacks. Three games does not decide a career.

However, as long seasons loom for the aforementioned, one man might be able to save this rookie draft class. It is time for the 49ers to hand the keys to Trey Lance.

Before you start screaming at me telling me how the performances of the other four rookie quarterbacks only shows why it is good for Lance’s development to sit and wait, hear me out.

I hold the opinion that days like all the rookie quarterbacks had on Sunday are important in speeding up the development of rookie quarterbacks.

Now you may ask, won’t throwing all these interceptions and getting beat up every week mess with their confidence?

Maybe. But if the team is worried about that, they should not have taken the quarterback in the first place. If a string of bad games causes irreparable damage to a quarterback’s psyche, they never belonged as a starting quarterback in the first place.

A big part of a quarterback’s success, especially early in their career, is their landing spot, and Lance landed in one of the best in the league. Look at Sam Darnold. Take him away from Adam Gase and the dumpster fire Jets and he looks like a completely different player. Darnold got Gase, Lance get’s Kyle Shanahan.

Will Trey Lance struggle when he eventually get’s the starting nod with the 49ers. Absolutely. That’s part of the point. Isn’t it better for him to struggle now compared to eight weeks from now when the Niners are in the thick of a playoff race?

‘But Ian, what if San Francisco wants to do what the Chiefs did with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes?’

You mean the Super-Bowl-roster-ready Chiefs that got bumped in the wild-card round because they didn’t have anyone special under center to take them over the top? If we replayed that Chiefs home playoff loss to the Titans back in 2017 but with Mahomes starting instead of Smith, does the outcome change?

All that being said, it is not hard to argue that right now Garoppolo gives the 49ers the best chance to win week to week. But the question remains is, can he lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl win this season? If you think the answer to that question is no, then why not put in Lance?

Teams in the NFL should be in the business of winning championships. That is why the Packers were right to not trade Aaron Rodgers this offseason. That’s why Bill Belichick was wrong to want to move off Tom Brady (on more than one occasion).

I am not suggesting Lance needs to immediately become an all-pro and go win a Super Bowl. But Jimmy Garoppolo, like Alex Smith, as accurate and coachable and efficient as he may be, strikes no fear in the hearts of opposing defensive coordinators. Lance, with his 6’4” frame, 4.5 speed and cannon arm will. He may be raw, so get him out there and let him cook.

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