Now the 49ers have two injured quarterbacks.
Rookie Trey Lance apparently sprained his left knee Sunday during his first career start, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Lance could miss the 49ers' upcoming game against the Indianapolis, as could Jimmy Garoppolo, who has a calf strain.
Suddenly, a mere playoff appearance seems questionable for the 49ers.
Here's what Shanahan said Monday on a conference call about Lance's knee injury:
SHANAHAN: "We'll re-evaluate him at the end of the week to determine his status for next week. Really won’t know whether he's got a chance versus Indy until next week, but he’s got a chance. Possibly one to two weeks. We'll have to wait and see.”
Do you know when that injury occurred?
SHANAHAN: “I do not know and neither does he. He said he didn't remember doing it at any time and he didn’t feel it until he said he was in bed last night.”
Did he already have an MRI on that?
SHANAHAN: “Yes, he did.”
And so, it's obviously ruled out that it's a long-term injury?
SHANAHAN: “Yeah, it’s not a long-term injury. But he'll have to stay here on the Bye Week, get treatment and everything. So, we should have a good idea by the end of next week, whether he's got a chance for Indy or not. If he doesn't, they told me it should be like a one to two week thing, but possibly just one.”
ME: Why are you confident this team can make the playoffs?
SHANAHAN: “I didn't say that. I'm trying to look at each game right now and we've lost three tough games in a row. Three games I think we could have won. We can clean things up and play a little bit better. So, I'm not thinking about that right now. I'm thinking about trying to beat Indy as soon as we come back from our Bye Week.”
What were your biggest coaching notes for Trey Lance’s after his first start?
SHANAHAN: “I was proud of him, I thought he went into a tough environment versus a real good team. I thought he did a lot of real good things. Threw a bad pick on that first drive, but I thought he bounced back well. I thought he was aggressive on what he saw. When he saw it right, he let it rip. When he didn't think something was there, he ran aggressively. I thought he did a real good job through it all and handled the noise pretty well. And I thought it was a good first experience for him.”
Designed runs versus off-schedule, were you fine with the ratio there? Was it what you had thought? We asked you last night, but you kind of wanted to take a look at the film.
SHANAHAN: “Yeah, no, I was totally good with it. Designed runs, we did a few of them, not too many of the designed runs where it's just him going. Most of those are options on it that you do it versus a certain look. But I thought it was a good mixture of it. Kept the defense honest in a bunch of stuff. Got them to play a certain way and once you do that, I thought it opened up a chance for us to make them pay on a few things that we missed.”
Were there times though where he should not have run and pulled up and threw the ball?
SHANAHAN: “Yeah, there was a couple of times in the game where you could have had a completion down the field instead of running, but there weren't any that were drastically the wrong decision or anything like that. Even the one he threw a pick on, he could have ran for probably 15 yards on that, but the guy who he saw, he saw right, was open. And so, he decided to throw it instead to try to get the 15 yards in the air and didn’t make a wrong decision. It could have gone either way. The ball just sailed on him.”
On the play that he was stopped at the goal line, it seemed like there might've been a couple of options in the middle of the end zone. Maybe he could have flipped the ball to RB Elijah Mitchell at the end there. Is that Monday morning quarterbacking, or would you have liked to have seen him done something a little bit different rather than happened?
SHANAHAN: “I think it's a little Monday morning quarterbacking. You run the play, and the first thing you try to do is hit the half back in the flat right away and they’ve got a guy outside there. And the design is to try to hit Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk] who’s slides in from the backside, which the penetration clipped him a little bit. So he was a little bit behind, but that was an option for Trey to do. If you don't have the legs, that's where I would expect him to go, back to Juice. But Trey does have the legs so he kept running. He had a chance to get in there. I think he saw number nine [Arizona Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons] in front of him and turned it up in there. And he didn’t see number 51 [Arizona Cardinals LB Tanner Vallejo] coming from inside, who I think surprised him. The guys made a hell of a play on the goal line and I'm not sure whether he got in or not. You can never tell, but those two guys made a great play.”
Big picture in terms of the way Trey Lance played, I know you had said over the last few weeks that Jimmy had given you a better chance to win, but is what he did yesterday, does any of that change your feeling, big picture, on his ability to help you guys win games?
SHANAHAN: “It doesn't change my opinion, big picture. Trey definitely has the ability to help us win games. I thought he was a big part of why we had a chance to win that game yesterday. I just wish we could've played better around him too. Not that he was perfect by any means, but he gave us a very good chance to win that game. And I know he will give us a chance to win a lot going forward. But it's more of a decision than just which player do you want to go with? There's a whole team here. There's a lot more that goes into it. And these three losses that we've had in a row, the answer good or bad is not just the quarterback. We’ve got to play better all around.”
You mentioned Trey having to stick around during the Bye Week to rehab. Will Jimmy be doing the same with his calf and given those two injuries are you worried about having to protect QB Nate Sudfeld more? Does he revert back to the practice squad and would you elevate him to the active roster?
SHANAHAN: “We haven't decided that yet. No, I was messing with Trey and Jimmy now that Jimmy has got some company, so they’ll be here, both of them, the whole week so they have the best chance to be ready for Monday when we all get back. But no, I'm pumped to have Nate here. He was ready to go yesterday. And if his number is called versus Indy, and he's been ready to go every week, he is as big of a pro as it gets. So, if his number is called versus Indy I know he'll be ready.”