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Chris Simms Says the 49ers are Scared to Start Trey Lance

Simms' observation has the ring of truth.

Chris Simms said something controversial yet obvious today:

The 49ers are scared to start Trey Lance.

It shouldn't take the brain of Phil Simms' son to point out something so clear, but here we are. 

"Are they scared a little bit?" Simms said on Pro Football Talk Live. "Of course they are."

Evidence: The 49ers not playing Lance more last season, and the 49ers keeping Jimmy Garoppolo around indefinitely.

Simms' observation has the ring of truth.

But then he tried to support his observation with his own evidence and failed:

"Anybody you talk to who saw training camp last year," Simms said, "either that was part of the 49ers staff or when they went and worked with the Los Angeles Chargers and you hear people who witnessed those practices, there had to be concerns coming out of San Francisco early on in the year last year. I know there was. There were too many people who were like, 'Man, the ball is everywhere; man, he's not ready yet.' That's got to scare them to a degree."

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Let's back up.

Had Simms said, "Some people who watched Lance were concerned," that statement would have been true. But Simms didn't say that. He said "anybody" who watched Lance in camp was concerned. That is not true.

How do I know?

I watched Lance every day in camp and both days in Los Angeles when the 49ers practiced with the Chargers, and I was not concerned. In fact, I was encouraged, and believed he gave the 49ers their best chance to win. Simms, conversely, saw Lance no days in camp, and never asked me what I saw.

Had Simms asked, he would have learned that I charted every pass Lance threw, and he completed 168 of 242 passes (69.4%), scored 12 touchdowns and threw 4 interceptions. As opposed to Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 190 of 299 passes (63.5%), scored 11 touchdowns and threw 11 interceptions.

If anyone struggled in camp, it was Garoppolo, not Lance.

During the preseason, Lance completed just 19 of 41 passes (46.3%), but his receivers dropped 10 passes. Had they caught them, Lance would have completed 29 of 41 passes (70.7).

To be fair, Lance partially was to blame for the drops because he threw the ball so hard, but that has nothing to do with accuracy, as Simms alluded to. Lance actually is more accurate than Garoppolo. Garoppolo simply throws shorter passes that are extremely soft and catchable, even if they're poorly placed.

Simms would have known all this had he come to practice. Still, you don't have to be an insider to know the 49ers are terrified of the unknown that is Trey Lance.