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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance became the subject of much criticism following his performance in a 34-7 preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, but the 2021 third overall pick doesn’t listen to the negativity.
“Trey is extremely smart, very socially aware. He knows how the world works. So, he does his best—which I think he does a damn good job of—[in] trying to block all that out and focus on getting better. I think that’s what he’s done so far,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Wednesday.
Shanahan added that the criticism Lance has received “goes with the territory” of being a top draft pick:
“It goes with it for quarterbacks, it goes with it for anybody who’s a high draft pick, but especially a quarterback. That’s one of the tough things for that position but also high draft picks. I mean, you watch receivers come in the league and they have a few drops early in camp and it becomes a lot of pressure on them. People want to see those people take off and do it right away and have no flaws. And that’s just part of it.”
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Shanahan says the negativity surrounding Lance “goes with the territory” of being a top draft pick pic.twitter.com/4d0Uue7Ehu
Lance completed 10 of 15 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown, though those numbers don’t necessarily tell the whole story of his performance.
The 23-year-old was sacked four times and he would have thrown multiple interceptions had Raiders defenders held onto the ball. Additionally, his lone touchdown pass to Ross Dwelley first bounced off the hands of a Raiders defender before being caught for the score.
WHAT?? That was wild!
The criticism of Lance appears to be heightened this summer after he missed most of the 2022 campaign following a season-ending ankle injury in just the second game of the year.
Lance entered the 2022 season as the team’s starting quarterback but was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo after suffering the ankle injury. When Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot injury in a Week 13 win over the Miami Dolphins, 2022 seventh-round pick Brock Purdy stepped in and exceeded expectations.
Purdy led the 49ers to a 13-4 finish and into the NFC Championship game before suffering an elbow injury in that matchup and falling to the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, the Iowa State product did more than enough to earn the starting role in 2023, and now Lance and 2018 third overall pick Sam Darnold are competing to be his primary backup.
Considering Darnold has far more playing experience than Lance at the NFL level, it’s hard to see how the latter is going to leapfrog the veteran for the backup job.
There’s still plenty of training camp left, and Lance will have another opportunity to showcase his assets in Saturday’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos.