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Assessing Kyle Shanahan's Explanation for Not Playing Trey Lance Week 2

He says he'll play Lance only if he can help the offense now. I say that's exactly what Lance will do if given an opportunity.

Kyle Shanahan spoke to Bay Area reporters on a conference call this Monday. Here's what he said about not playing rookie first-round pick Trey Lance against the Philadelphia Eagles.

ME: Was the plan not to play Lance, or did the game unfold in such a way that prevented you from inserting him for a few plays?

SHANAHAN: "No, I never have a plan that I'm going to use him or I'm not going to use him. It's always an option throughout the game. It has been two games, and I've never had him in the openers and I've never had him in at designated times. I plan on doing that week to week, and whenever I decide to put him in, you saw when I did in Week 1, and I never got that urge in Week 2."

Q: Do you understand when people suggest you should want to get Lance out there to make sure he's ready down the line?

SHANAHAN: "Yeah, I understand every angle that people want to take with it, but I also understand we're an NFL team and we're trying to win each game and we do have a starting quarterback, and that usually makes it pretty simple. But when your backup quarterback does have a skillset that can bring different things to the game, that's what gives us an option for us to do. It's something that someone has to prepare for week in and week out, and I think that's an awesome club in our bag that we can use at any time, but you don't really make decisions for your team to put a guy in totally just for how that is for him in the future. I think that would be irresponsible to everybody else in the room. You do it if it gives you a chance based off what's going on in that game and that game only. In the meantime, it's nice for a guy to get out there, but if it wasn't because he was bringing a different element that we thought could help us with something we're going against, there's no other reason that we would do it."

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Here's what I think of Shanahan's answers:

He says he'll play Lance only if he can help the offense now. I say that's exactly what Lance will do if given an opportunity. The 49ers running game currently 24th out of 32 teams in yards per carry, and their passing game ranks dead last in air yards, meaning yards the ball travels through the air. Their entire passing game is screens, quick throws, and the occasional 15-yard pass between the hashes to Deebo Samuel. 

Lance can improve the running game, because he's a runner, and he can improve the passing game with his long play-action passes which currently are absent from the 49ers attack. The one time the 49ers let him throw a deep play-action shot in the preseason, he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass.

The 49ers offense ranks 18th in yards through the first two weeks. That's below average. It's time time they get their first-round pick on the freaking field.

Listen to the full interview below: