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Kyle Shanahan Says Trey Lance Needs Game Experience

It's a Catch 22 for the rookie.
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The 49ers' plan for Trey Lance never has made sense.

When they drafted him, Lance was one of the youngest and least experienced college quarterbacks ever. It seemed clear his development would require lots of playing time. But the 49ers have kept him on the bench most of the season, including each of the past three games. Which is strange, because they're 4-5, and he's supposed to become their starting quarterback next season.

"This was the third-straight game Trey Lance has suited up and not played a snap," a reporter asked head coach Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday. "Are there still packages for him in the game plans, or have you made the decision that Jimmy Garoppolo will take every snap?

"No, I haven't made that decision," Shanahan said. "The only time I did that was the Chicago week. Then the next week against Arizona, the game didn't go the way we wanted. Going into this game, we didn't like a lot of the stuff schematic-wise in terms of what the Rams, did, so we didn't see it changing the defense up in a big way or giving us too much of an advantage, so that's why we didn't go with it."

"Do you see Lance getting more and more of the playbook in his head as the weeks go on?" the reporter asked.

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"Trey has the whole playbook in his head," Shanahan declared. "He was able to do that in training camp. If you work at it, you're going to learn it all, but it's about going through it full speed. It's about going through it at gametime tempo and going against the blitzes and all the stuff that can surprise you, and knowing when a play is a good play, when it's a bad play, when you've got to get out of something, when you've got to get to the No. 4 choice in the progression as opposed to the one you practiced during the week. That just comes with experience. He's getting more and more of it. You can never get too much."

Translation: Lance needs to play and gain experience, but he's too inexperienced to play and gain experience.

It's a Catch 22 for the rookie.

Sounds like Garoppolo could remain the starter in 2022 if he keeps Lance on the bench for the remainder of 2021.

That wasn't the plan, was it?