Analyzing Day 7 of the 49ers Quarterback Competition

Poor Jimmy.

Trey Lance isn't just winning the 49ers quarterback competition. He's putting on a show.

He's the main attraction at training camp. Not Fred Warner. Not George Kittle. Certainly not Jimmy Garoppolo. Lance. He's the player everyone watches -- even the other players.

"I think everybody's eyes are locked on him," starting nose tackle D.J. Jones said on Wednesday. "He's special."

On Tuesday, starting linebacker Dre Greenlaw wrote on Instagram that Lance has the "best arm I've ever seen hands down."

I share Greenlaw's sentiment. Lance has the best arm I've ever seen in person on the 49ers practice field. He's also the best quarterback I've ever seen practice in Santa Clara. He does literally everything well.

He's an excellent runner like Lamar Jackson, but has a much better arm, and has terrific velocity like Colin Kaepernick, but has way better throwing mechanics and a decidedly quicker release.

Which means Lance has a chance to be the 49ers' best quarterback since Steve Young.

Here's what he and Garoppolo did on Wednesday.


Played exclusively with the second-team offense and completed 7 of 8 pass attempts. The one incomplete throw should have been defensive pass interference. 

Lance has toyed with the second-team defense all of camp. It's time to let him face the starters. Here's a blow by blow of his practice:

1. Rolled to his right, found his third read, Wayne Gallman, who was running a curl route on the back side of the play, and threw all the way across the field to him for a gain of 10. This was an extremely powerful throw to a stationary target.

2. Ran a zone read to his left and gained 10 yards.

3. Completed a 15-yard pass over the middle to Brandon Aiyuk running a dig route from left to right. Great job hitting a moving target in stride.

4. Threw an incomplete deep pass to George Kittle up the right sideline. Kittle was open -- he had a couple steps on rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga -- but Lance underthrew the pass. This caused Kittle to slow down, which caused Hufanga to run into him. Looked like defensive pass interference. Either way, bad throw.

5. Completed a 45-yard pass to Ross Dwelley streaking up the right sideline. This pass was a rope.

6. Ran a zone read and lost three yards. Maurice Hurst tagged him in the backfield.

7. Scrambled to his left, reset his feet and threw back over the middle to his right to Aiyuk for a gain of 10. 

8. Completed another 45-yard pass, this time to Kittle up the seam. Throws like these are becoming routine for Lance.

9. Threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews running a seam route in the red zone. Matthews was Lance's second read.

10. Ran a zone read to his left in the red zone and scored a touchdown. Easy.

11. Threw a touch pass over a cornerback in the end zone for a score. Nsimba Webster caught the pass. This was Lance's best touch throw of camp.


Poor Jimmy.

He used to be the most physically gifted quarterback in town. Now he's like an outdated piece of technology -- he's a typewriter, and Lance is an iPhone.

So even on Garoppolo's best day, he can't keep up.

Wednesday was not Garoppolo's best day, though. Here's a blow by blow of his morning.

1. Completed a five-yard checkdown pass to Mohamed Sanu after holding the ball too long in the pocket and taking a sack from Arik Armstead.

2. Stared too long at his first read, threw late to his second read -- Deebo Samuel running a curl route -- and got his pass broken up by cornerback Ken Webster. Samuel was open a beat earlier.

3. Threw a pass to Kittle running a deep crossing route, and almost got intercepted by Tavon Wilson, who got both hands on the pass but dropped it. Garoppolo never saw Wilson, who was lurking in a zone, waiting for Kittle.

4. Threw an incomplete deep pass to Kittle, who was open. Garoppolo hesitated, double clutched and then sailed a long wobbler out of bounds. Embarassing.

5. Completed a check down pass to Trent Sherfield running a swing route.

6. Completed a 10-yard pass to Kittle running an out route against safety Tony Jefferson.

7. Sailed an incomplete pass over the head of Brandon Aiyuk, who was running a deep crossing route against K'Waun Williams and was open.

8. Completed a screen pass to Deebo Samuel.

9. Rolled to his right and dumped a short pass to Kittle, who ran into the end zone from a few yards out.

10. Threw an accurate pass to Deebo Samuel running a slant but Samuel dropped it.

11. Threw a quick pass to running back Trey Sermon.

Not a bad practice for a Garoppolo, but not an exciting one, either. His morning ended on a checkdown, and no one cared because he'll be history soon.

Sorry, Jimmy. It's strictly business.