Jimmy Garoppolo is the presumed starter in Week 1 for the 49ers.
That does not mean that Trey Lance does not have a chance to end up starting. If Garoppolo ends up playing inconsistently or sustains an injury, then Lance will have to step up as the starter.
In a way, Lance would be thrown into the fire in this situation, especially if Garoppolo were to get hurt. That is a scenario that has a decent chance to play out for Lance and, if he is not ready, then it will not be beneficial to his development or his confidence if he ends up committing a ton of mistakes.
That is why it is of utmost importance for the 49ers to get Lance involved in the offense regardless if he is the starter or not. This is something that Ted Nguyen of The Athletic mentioned would be key to getting Lance ready in my interview with him.
"I think that's part of why you would want him out for certain packages or have him out for a drive two," said Nguyen. "Not just to give defenses more problems or things to think about, but also to get his feet wet. So like you said if Garoppolo were to get hurt, you know he's not going to be just totally green and thrown out into the fire. He'll have some experience, he'll have some sense of what NFL speed looks like if you get some reps for him. So, yeah, I mean that's another reason why you draft a quarterback high, and keep Jimmy Garoppolo because Garoppolo has been injury prone. But yeah, I think it's never ideal to have to put a player that's not ready out there when somebody gets hurt, but sometimes that's the reality of the situation."
True, it is a reality of the situation where players get thrown into the spotlight that they are not yet ready for. And that is exactly why there needs to be packages or drives where Lance sees action. There is only so much that practice, and even preseason, can prepare him for. At least if he gets out there even for a sliver of the game, it is at least something he can gain insight on when it comes to the real thing. I am sure Kyle Shanahan is going to proceed this way throughout the season because the odds of Garoppolo getting hurt again is fairly likely.
That is, at least, what his history would say. Getting Lance out there will expedite his development. Even if Garoppolo is playing soundly, Lance should still see a piece of playing time. If he ends up sitting the whole year, the 49ers must not keep him on the shelf like an old photograph collecting dust. Lance needs to be out there and gain an understanding of what it is to be out there.
That way the 49ers will have increased the likelihood of how prepared he is in an unfortunate Garoppolo scenario.