That is what I took away from Trey Lance's press conference on Tuesday. How Lance looked, acted, his demeanour and the way he talked is completely different than how he was last season. Before, he would rush his answers and be kind of like a robot. He lacked personality or any authentic energy. You could tell he was careful at the pressers.
But this time around, Lance exuded vibrant energy. You didn't need to be at the press conference to feel how genuine this guy was. That is exactly what it is going to take for him to anchor as the starting quarterback this year. Lance is already showing signs to be a great leader for the 49ers. Look no further than how he answered a question regarding the unwarranted criticisms of him despite having hardly played.
"In the most respectful way possible, it doesn't change how I feel about you guys as people, but it's not my job to care what you guys say or anyone else on social media," said Lance. "For me, I care about what the guys in the locker room think and what my coaching staff thinks. And at the end of that, that's my job. You guys, unfortunately, aren't the ones that are making decisions for me or really have any effect on me in again, the most respectful way possible. I know everyone's got strong opinions one way or the other, but like I said, I'm not going to go out and try to prove people wrong, prove myself right, but I'm doing it for the guys in the locker room.”
THAT is the exact type of an answer that a starting quarterback and rising leader of a team should have. Blocking the outside noise is something every team in any sports preaches, but not everyone can resonate or execute that. Lance seems to be doing an elite job of it and that is exactly what has to happen as a starting quarterback. He cannot worry about what media or fans say -- just his team.
Lance even took the initiative to call every single rookie the 49ers drafted and to welcome them. It is clear that he is getting it. He knows what it means to be the cornerstone to a franchise and he is carrying the weight of the image profoundly. All Lance needs to do now is back it up with his gameplay, then suddenly everything pairs nicely to set the 49ers up for sustained greatness.
"For me, I want to keep getting better," Lance said. "That's my focus right now. The leadership stuff is, that's just being a good guy in the locker room, but that's stuff that's earned. That's not really anything I can say to be a leader. But, I'm just trying to be a good guy, be a good teammate, have my teammates back at the end of the day.”