It was another strong day of practice for San Francisco 49ers’ rookie quarterback Trey Lance. On Wednesday, he was 7-of-8 in the passing game, ran three times and his four deep red zone snaps all resulted in touchdowns.
“Everybody’s eyes are locked on him,” said defensive tackle D.J. Jones. “He’s special.”
According to 49ers’ offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, Lance’s talent is only part of what sets the rookie apart.
“That’s one of the best parts about Trey, is that he handles himself like he’s wise beyond his years,” McDaniel said. “So he really approaches every day like it’s a new day and he’s trying to get the most out of himself. It’s been refreshing to see a young guy that you invest in, really attack it that way. And so that’s, he’s pretty consistent. He doesn’t get too high or too low, which is what you’d want from a player at that position.”
Other than one play in Tuesday’s practice, Lance has been working with the second-team and head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday that he has not planned on changing that.
“A certain play that went in a day that we wanted all the lines to get reps with and we’re only going to do that play with Trey,” Shanahan said on Tuesday.
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That being said, Lance is getting work in with the team’s top receivers, throwing to Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and TE George Kittle at times.
“What we try to do as coaches, and what coach Shanahan does with the entire offensive staff and what he asks me to do as well, is put a lot of pressure on position coaches to read through the script and see the different opportunities,” McDaniel said. “We have the plays and we know the defenses. The players don’t. So we try to put you know, ‘Hey George Kittle needs a rep versus man coverage.’ Well, instead of dictating the entire practice and all the peoples reps for George, we ask coaches to say, ‘Hey, George, you’re going to go in with the twos or the threes.’ It doesn’t really matter to get that opportunity. It’s just one of the ways we try to work on individual skillsets.”
In working with Lance, Kittle has seen progression in the 49ers’ current QB2.
“He’s just gaining confidence in his abilities,” said Kittle after Wednesday’s training camp practice. “He’s obviously still a rookie. There’s timing things he needs to figure out, but he’s definitely making progress. That’s all you want to see from everybody on the field, especially a No. 3 draft pick.”
Lance was seen carrying the pads and helmets of his veteran teammates off the practice field on Wednesday, but tradition is tradition, no matter where you’re picked in the Draft.
“There’s an element of confidence that is unique,” McDaniel said. “I wouldn’t say he’s loud or boisterous. He has a calm confident swag that I think really appeals to players. He knows the pressure that’s on him, like any other player. So he really is really comfortable in his own skin, I’d say. And he’s getting to the point where he can correct other players, which from a coach’s perspective is all you’re looking for. You want a coach on the field. The person that a receiver is going to listen to, much more than a coach, is the guy that’s throwing him the ball. So he’s been very good with that and I think a lot of the guys respond to that.”
For a 49ers’ defense that has struggled against mobile quarterbacks, practicing against Lance has been a welcome challenge.
“They’re getting a lot of good work, a lot of good looks and he’s stressing them out a lot,” said defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. “He definitely causes defenses a lot of problems.”
With Jaquiski Tartt on the COVID list, safety Tavon Wilson has stepped in with the starters and has had an impressive camp.
“Tavon has done a really good job,” Ryans said. “I mean, you can tell he’s a true pro, he’s a leader. I love his approach to every day. He attacks every day the right way, does a really awesome job of communicating out there with the guys, making sure guys are all on the same page. And he’s just been, he’s been great in there. So I’m happy that we were able to get Tavon, a really great addition to our team and I like the way he’s working.”
Honoring the GM
With general manager John Lynch being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, the team surprised him with coaches and staff all wearing 2021 Hall of Fame t-shirts with his name on the back of them at Wednesday’s practice.
“So I actually, there was a couple of guys that were really excited to put it on in the office before we went out,” McDaniel said. “And I kind of was scurrying around offices, like hiding it so he didn’t see it. The first thing I saw when I saw him, I asked him, ‘Where’s your shirt?’ Because we thought it’d be kind of funny for him to wear his own name on his back. John is an unbelievable human being and there’s not too many Hall of Famers that you even have the chance to know. I think all the players and coaches alike really feel that way. I think he felt just tremendous gratitude and a little bashful. He not a look at me guy and there’s a lot of people wearing his name today.”
- Nick Bosa did not practice, as he had a maintenance day, and Samson Ebukam did not practice, as he is dealing with soreness.