Trey Lance completed his unremarkable preseason marketing campaign in a 17-0 loss to the Houston Texans. Lance went 7-for-11 for 49 yards, however didn’t look totally snug within the pocket — lacking a number of open passes and failing to guide a single scoring drive.
Lance’s efficiency over the previous three weeks hasn’t been horrible, nevertheless it’s additionally been extraordinarily unconvincing. Particularly contemplating the 49ers nonetheless have Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, and he led the workforce to the NFC Championship a yr in the past. We’re left with a bizarre quandary on what San Francisco’s priorities ought to be this season: Successful soccer video games and competing, or setting themselves up for the long run.
What has Trey Lance carried out this preseason?
Lance has been an extremely correct quarterback who hasn’t made errors throughout his two video games. He’s gone 11-for-16 for 141 yards, 1 TD and no interceptions. That represents a passer ranking of 116.9, which ought to be trigger for pleasure — nevertheless it’s why we decide efficiency off video games and never field scores.
The reality is, Lance hasn’t made one impactful play outdoors of a 76-yard landing to Danny Grey within the first preseason sport. When 54 % of your passing yards come on a single play, and the remainder of the reps have been unremarkable, it’s a little bit of a fear.
At its core, the difficulty is why the 49ers determined they wanted to commerce up and draft Lance with the No. 3 choose within the 2021 NFL Draft. The workforce was on the lookout for extra playmaking and dynamism on the place, and to this point we haven’t seen it. Probably the most uncooked metric for quarterback playmaking is YPA (yards-per-attempt). It merely measures how a lot offense a passer generates each time they drop again to move, and it’s usually an excellent indicator of how good a quarterback is. Something over 7.0 is sweet, with 8.0 or higher being indicative of an elite season.
In preseason Lance’s complete YPA is 8.8, which is stellar — however with out that one 76-yard move it plummets to an abysmal YPA of 4.33. For comparability, within the worst sport Zach Wilson performed in 2021 he completed with a YPA of 4.35, and that was the worst sport in one of many worst rookie seasons by a passer in current reminiscence.
It’s not truthful to utterly take away that landing from the equation, nevertheless it underscores the wildly inconsistent nature of Lance’s play. He’s not transferring chains, he’s not placing the 49ers in scoring positions, and because it stands it’s unimaginable to see him as an improve for Jimmy G.
What’s the standing of Jimmy Garoppolo?
It’s been a really unusual few months for Jimmy Garoppolo. Whereas the 49ers quarterback was extremely criticized following the playoffs that noticed him end with a passer ranking of 72.7, he remained largely quiet and let the discuss swirl round him.
Regardless of rumors across the draft that groups would attempt to commerce for Jimmy G, these offers by no means materialized. Whereas different quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Matt Ryan discovered new houses, it appeared the 49ers QB was all the time destined to stored as a fallback play for Trey Lance. Because it stands Garoppolo remains to be on the 49ers roster, and a lock to make the 53 man roster.
The query is: Is it time now to drag the ripcord and re-name Jimmy G the starter?
Ought to the 49ers make a change at quarterback?
That basically will depend on the workforce’s objectives, and why this complete state of affairs has change into so tough. The best was that Garoppolo could lead on the workforce to success in 2021, and with a yr underneath his belt Lance may take over in 2022 — sustaining the workforce’s successful methods.
It seems the workforce received’t attain these heights. As a substitute the entrance workplace is now going through down a state of affairs the place they want to decide on between successful proper now and competing for a Tremendous Bowl, or taking part in out the yr and making certain Lance has time to develop. There’s little doubt the younger quarterback has proven sufficient flashes that are indicative of starter degree play, however with a purpose to match Garoppolo’s manufacturing these flashes want to return with regularity.
It’s additionally truthful to say that the 49ers offensive line has been a multitude to this point. The retirement of heart Alex Mack, paired with shedding Laken Tomlinson to free company led to the workforce rotating by means of a number of younger gamers on the OL. However, no matter their personnel switches the unit remains to be taking part in turnstile soccer that lets by means of move rushers like a subway at rush hour. It’s unclear if Garoppolo may have success behind this identical line as constructed, although it’s protected to say he has extra expertise coping with NFL stress than Lance.
Regardless of the frustration, it might be a mammoth mistake to make one other quarterback swap now. San Francisco opens its 2022 marketing campaign towards the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, with their first actual check coming in Week 3 towards the Broncos. That gradual transition into the season would give the 49ers two extra weeks to have a look at Lance, then if issues are trying dangerous they’ll make the swap. Nonetheless, in the long term, the objective ought to be sustained success — and that’s finest achieved by increase Lance’s confidence as a passer and forcing him to play with no looming menace of shedding his job. The instruments are there; he simply must put it collectively.
The truth is that the 49ers may not meet the lofty expectations followers had for them to return to being a power within the NFC and make a deep playoff run, however long run it’s one of the best plan of action. It is a workforce that can win a Tremendous Bowl, however not till Trey Lance is prepared — and he’s not there but.