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Why the 49ers Sitting Trey Lance his Rookie Season was a Waste

The 49ers will now have wasted TWO seasons with Trey Lance. His rookie season is the most egregious one to have skipped on their part.

A defending point from the perspective of Kyle Shanahan running Trey Lance so much is that it was his "greatest" strength. Shanahan did not have enough trust/comfort in Lance throwing, which is why he preferred running him and run the risk of Lance sustaining an injury.

Well, that could not be further from the truth because Lance is not a great runner of the football at all. And if you compare him to other running quarterbacks (Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, etc.), then he pales in comparison to them. But I'll entertain the defenders of Shanahan who say that Lance's greatest strength is running with the ball. If being a runner is the best skill that Lance has right now, then what on earth were the 49ers doing with him last year when he was taking a redshirt year? 

Sitting Lance for his rookie season was a complete and utter waste by the 49ers.

They sat him behind a very average quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo so that he could learn what? Receive mental reps? Who cares about that if he cannot execute. Apparently if he can't be depended on as a thrower, then they clearly did nothing with him, which was always the case. Coaches are not going to dedicate time with ANY backup on the team. It is why I was pounding the table for the 49ers to rip the band-aid off and kickstart his development. At least as the starter last year they could've actually worked with him. Any argument that was made about Lance benefitting from sitting was delusional. He was NEVER going to improve that way.

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So instead of committing to him, they ended up running him a lot because it is his "greatest" strength because he is not a trustworthy passer yet. Sitting a quarterback for a year is such an expired idea. The only way doing that makes sense is if someone great is the starter. At least there is an excuse for why he is not playing. It is not like the 49ers made the playoffs because of Garoppolo in the first place. They made it through the elite powers of the defense who were consistent from the jump and switching Deebo Samuel over as a running back. It was possible to make the playoffs with Lance.

The 49ers now have wasted TWO years of Lance's development and rookie contract. They couldn't get him developed after sitting him in Year 1, so they reverted to what they were accustomed to when he made his debut start against the Cardinals in 2021 when he ran a lot. Coincidence that he got hurt that game too? I think not. There should be zero surprise Lance got hurt running the football. His body is flimsy when he receives contact. Look at his first sack received against the Bears in Week 1. He got tossed to the ground with ONE arm. 

Lance as runner is not ideal, but somehow it is his "greatest" strength and was the "right call" to give the option to run the ball on second down. The writing has been on the wall that he isn't smooth at running the ball, especially compared to throwing. So this notion, this defense of his usage running, is quite hysterical. If it were true, if that was really the case with how Shanahan felt, then they completely failed Lance his rookie season or simply evaluated him incorrectly.