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How the 49ers can Fail Trey Lance This Season

Success for Trey Lance doesn't fall just upon his own shoulders. The 49ers must do what they can to support and not fail him.

No player faces more pressure this season on the 49ers than Trey Lance.

Stepping into the starting role indefinitely after the team reached the NFC championship is no easy task. The fact that the 49ers made it with an average quarterback such as Jimmy Garoppolo means they should succeed with Lance, right?

Not necessarily. This season could be tough sledding for Lance where he struggles to gain traction. Now, the 49ers could overcome that like they did with the failures of Garoppolo last year. But overcoming Lance isn't what they should be doing. 2022 needs to be an uplifting year for him. Otherwise, the 49ers will have failed him.

Here is how the 49ers can fail Lance this season: by not structuring and calling an offense around him to optimize his skillset. Whether it was the preseason or his limited action in the regular season, the offense that the 49ers operated under with Lance was bizarre. It looked vanilla. You could tell that Kyle Shanahan was calling an extremely careful and tense offense. That isn't how Lance should be handled as the quarterback.

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2022 must not go anywhere near what any of those offenses had with Lance. Just think back to his first start against the Cardinals. Lance was running so much from designed runs or scrambling because of a simplified-vanilla offense. While I understand that was his first career start against a good team on the road, it is not like the offense looked dramatically different against the Texans, either. Plus, Shanahan and Lance had both acknowledged that Lance had gotten the offense embedded in his head already.

Conditions aside, there are still ways that Shanahan and the 49ers can fail him. They could still look to run him into the ground again just like against the Cardinals, or they can refuse to utilize his legs on some bootleg plays and just force him into a drop back offense. That isn't his game yet, and it doesn't utilize all of his abilities. That is essentially what the 49ers need to do with Lance to avoid failing him. They cannot have tunnel vision and call it safe with him. Lance needs to let it rip with every skill available to him, which is tossing it deep, getting him on the move and letting him carry it a couple of times.

If the 49ers can balance it right, then not only will it aid Lance in excelling and developing, but it will keep defenses on their heels. That is ultimately what Shanahan strives for when calling an offense. And now that he has Lance as his quarterback, it should be easier than ever to do it. So long as they realize what they have in him and not force him into what he is not again, then all will be well with him.