13 May How The 49ers Are Preparing For The Trey Lance Takeover
By Scott Engel, The Game Day
The 49ers offense is starting to take shape for the 2022 season, but there are still questions to be answered. The most obvious ones are at quarterback and running back. We all know what we are going to get out of the tight end. At wide receiver, Deebo Samuel is unlikely to go anywhere even if he says he wants to.
As we saw last season, the Niners are very capable of making a deep playoff run. Despite their odds to make the Super Bowl were quite low, they managed to knock off the Cowboys and Packers on the road in what were two of the more memorable victories in recent team history. But of course, they did fall short of making the big game.
Can Trey Lance Take The 49ers Back To the Super Bowl In 2022?
Addressing The Current QB Concerns
Fans of the team who have longed to see the championship drought that dates to 1994 could smell another trip to the Super Bowl in last year’s NFC Championship game. But ultimately, while it was an inspiring playoff run, it ended with another frustrating and disappointing ending.
It appears that Trey Lance is now ticketed to pilot the team going forward, but there has been a lot of speculation and conjecture about whether he is ready to assume the role and operate successfully on a consistent basis. The team, built around the quarterback position can make another strong postseason push and cannot have Lance hold it back.
Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the roster, although widespread reports indicate that the team will still try to trade him away this summer. The only true trade partner seems to be the Carolina Panthers. They only have Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral on the roster. The Panthers are the most obvious destination, as they have ample salary cap room and still have a major need at QB.
Let’s forget about Garoppolo being traded to the Seahawks. The 49ers are not likely going to deal him to a divisional rival. Garoppolo would be a clear upgrade over Drew Lock or Geno Smith, and the Niners don’t want to make the Seahawks a better team.
The 49ers simply should not carry Garoppolo’s 2022 salary of nearly $27 million, so they have to see what they can get for him. There has been some conjecture that San Francisco could keep him, but it would not make financial sense. Strategically, it will benefit the 49ers to keep Garoppolo around if Lance struggles. But if they release him, they can allocate the money saved to key players at other positions.
So, the team is facing a dilemma. They must either go all-in on Lance and save the money on Garoppolo or keep the veteran QB and possibly overpay for a potential backup in a major way. After trading up to get Lance last year, the Niners will likely ignore all the noise and allow Lance to get rolling after he sat for much of the 2022 season.
Getting The Right Playmakers Around Trey Lance
The path John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan are taking are what many other teams in the league are doing now. If a team doesn’t have a proven or star quarterback at the helm, they surround the QB with as much playmaking talent as possible. The QB is not asked to carry the offense. Instead, he leans on his skill position players and benefits from them.
With George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and a deep running game supporting him, Lance has the right pieces to succeed. Plus, we all know that Lance can also be a threat as a runner, which adds another dimension to the offense. The RPO element of the offense will keep defenses off balance.
The success of Lance will come down to his decision-making and grasp of the offense. If Shanahan believes Lance is overwhelmed at any point, he can simplify the attack to suit the young QB. Lance is a big reason why Samuel will not likely be traded. Such an elite YAC threat is a terrific safety valve for a young passer. Lance can toss Samuel many high-percentage passes and let him do a lot of the work.
Eli Mitchell was a total revelation as a rookie. He showed that he could carry the load of a feature back if needed. But doing so led to him getting banged up, and Shanahan has often preferred a committee approach to the RB position. It ensures good depth, keeps the guys fresh, and lessens exposure to injuries. It also wears down the defense. Fantasy football players don’t like the RB committee, but Shanahan does not care about that.
Many 49ers observers were startled to see the team draft LSU RB Tyrion Davis-Price in the third round, but the pick also did make some sense. San Francisco cannot count on Mitchell alone to lead the running game, which is an important element to ease pressure on Lance while achieving offensive balance. We can’t count out Trey Sermon, either, as all three RBs could contribute throughout the year.
Get ready because the Trey Lance era is about to begin. The 49ers have put the right pieces in place to make sure his starting tenure can be smoother in his first full season guiding the offense.