After Day 2 of OTAs, Trey Lance, the San Francisco 49ers presumptive QB1, entered his media availability with a smile.

“It’s nice to see you guys,” the second-year quarterback said.

Lance was not seen much by the media last season, and when he was, he was a subdued rookie QB2 who played backup to Jimmy Garoppolo. Lance’s teammates see the difference in his demeanor as well.

“How he holds himself, his confidence, I feel like it’s a lot higher,” said tight end George Kittle. “I think he’s gotten better from where he was at the end of last year. And I think he’s taking strides forward.”

Lance’s rookie year came with a lot of learning and a lot of benefits. He was a part of a team that went from 3-5 to the NFC Championship game, and he was able to learn from a veteran quarterback.

“I had fun [last season],” Lance said. “It was hard not to. We played in the NFC Championship Game, so it was hard to not have a fun year. I got to learn a lot, getting to spend time with that locker room was a ton of fun last year. And I know it’s going to be a ton of fun again this year.”

Lance has been in Santa Clara for the entire offseason program, and head coach Kyle Shanahan has been happy with what he’s seen thus far.

“He’s been great,” Shanahan said. “He went away for a while, along with almost everyone else. You can tell he got healthy while he was gone and he’s come back and he has gotten in four good weeks of work.”

Lance started two games last season, as Garoppolo was battling various injuries. Throughout the season, Lance was dealing with a finger injury suffered in the preseason.

“I could manage it, but it’s a finger, so it’s hard,” Lance said. “The process for me was it didn’t get straight all the way was kind of the issue…[A]s the season went on, it kind of started to straighten more and more and the swelling went down, but it’s just a thing that takes time…But yeah, we don’t need to talk about it anymore. I feel like I’m in a great spot now.”

By the time Lance started his second game in Week 17 against the Houston Texans, the finger had mostly healed, but working to adjust to his injury hurt his mechanics, which is something he worked on this offseason.

“I didn’t try to rewrite anything,” Lance said. “I kind of dealt with my finger throughout the season, so for me, it was kind of getting that back and getting healthy and feeling back to myself. I felt like towards the end of the season, I wasn’t the best version of myself, overall. It was a long season, long pre-draft process with me not being in school. Everyone says it’s going to be, but you don’t really realize it until it happens. And I think the finger for me was the biggest thing just as far as throwing the ball. I kind of had to learn how to throw the ball differently without using my pointer finger I guess just because of where it was at throughout the year. But now, I feel like I’m in a great spot health-wise and throwing the ball well and I feel really good.”

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk spent time working with Lance this past offseason in Southern California.

“We went down there to throw,” Aiyuk said. “At first, it was the guys getting together…Just all of us being able to switch up the scene to come down and hang out with each other, play, throw the football around a little bit and just be in the California sun. But we got to work on a lot of things down there, and we were just playing football. A lot of guys, it was the first time throughout the offseason that we were running routes…So we’re like, maybe we’ll all get together and do that together. But like I said, we’re just building off for that, what we did, and just fine tuning those things right now in this period that we get.”

As fas as leadership skills go, Lance knows that actions speak louder than words.

“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.”

Deebo Samuel

Shanahan said that he expects wide receiver/running back Deebo Samuel to be back with the 49ers for next month’s mandatory minicamp. He is also confident that the relationship rift can be mended.

“I felt that the last time I talked to you guys at draft time and I feel the same, if not stronger.”

Jimmy Garoppolo

“Nothing’s changed since the surgery,” Shanahan said regarding the likelihood of trading Jimmy Garoppolo. “We knew where we were at before that, and then he got the surgery, so everything went on hold. I expect him at some time, most likely to be traded, but who knows. It’s not a guarantee and it’s been exactly on hold when that happened. And when he is healthy, we’ll see what happens.”

Tracy Sandler

Tracy Sandler

I created Fangirl Sports Network as a place for female sports fans to follow their favorite teams with content and coverage that speaks directly to females. It started with one and then eight and now 32 NFL Fangirls and 15 NBA Fangirls.