49ers defense hasn’t allowed Lance to build confidence, coach jokes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA — The good news for Trey Lance, the starting freshman quarterback, is that he’s been practicing daily this summer against some of the best defense in the NFL.
The bad news is that he’s been practicing daily this summer against a defense that ranks among the NFL’s best.
“It can’t get much harder,” said 49ers quarterback coach Brian Griese of the challenge Lance faces on the team’s practice field.
“You also want to build some skills and some confidence,” he added with a laugh.
Lance has completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts in 11-on-11 drills since the camp opened last week. Lance was often under pressure from the 49ers defense. And noticeable improvements at cornerback with Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley have resulted in tighter windows.
“He understands that this is a great opportunity to grow and do it against some of the best in the league,” Griese said of Lance.
It hasn’t come easy for the 49ers’ passing game. But Lance has also shown flashes of his great playing potential with his strides in the field and ability to create plays with his running skills.
Griese highlighted what he’s seen of Garoppolo behind the scenes as one reason he’s “really encouraged”.
“He’s giving himself a chance because he shows up every day and he’s ready to work,” Griese said. “He has a humility about him that gives him the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and grow.
“I am very encouraged by his attitude. That’s impressive for a young man his age. That’s not natural. The way he treats his team, the way he operates on the pitch, the way he reacts when he makes a mistake. All those things are very, very positive on top of his physical abilities, which are significant.”
Lance takes over from veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s starting quarterback this season.
After being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Lance becomes a men’s leader at age 22.
Griese said Lance looks like he has an innate ability to handle those big demands.
“He is able to pigeonhole his job, his role, his understanding of mentally what he is responsible for, collectively as the leader of the team and the offense for which he is responsible,” Griese said.
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Timing is an important part of a quarterback being in sync with the receivers in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Timing is also key when navigating the different personalities, relationships and expectations of his teammates, Griese said.
“Having the right timing of communication when you need to get to someone, when to encourage, when to slow things down, when to pick things up,” Griese said. “You really are a manager, not only of the game, but also of the people.
He doesn’t have it for someone his age. We continue to grow with that, but he has a foundation and a foundation that I think is really impressive.”
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