The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the preseason by hammering the Las Vegas Raiders 34-10 on Sunday. For the first two drives of the game, the Niners rotated Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance at quarterback every few plays. It was evident that Garoppolo will be the team's starter under center, but it's also clear San Francisco has to find ways to get Lance playing time.
We know who Garoppolo is at this point. He's an oft-injured, average NFL quarterback who has had problems closing games in the clutch. There is absolutely nothing particularly special about him. Yes, he'll be San Francisco's starter this year, but if the 49ers want to compete in the NFC West, they will need something else.
Even as a change of pace option, Lance could be a tremendous addition. As we saw on Sunday, the third pick from the 2021 NFL Draft can get it done with his legs:
Even the threat of Lance running the ball should open up the rest of the ground game:
They 21-year-old can also throw the ball and has an absolute howitzer for an arm:
None of this is to say Lance could start right now. He needs a ton of polish and has struggled to consistently work through his progressions during the preseason. That will all come as he develops and gets more experience. But for now? He simply can't just sit on the bench.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan possesses a creative offensive mind, I have no doubt he'll come up with ways to get Lance involved. But I'm not suggesting he should be in solely on special packages. No, Lance should be rotated in periodically to give opposing defenses something to think about.
Shanahan should make it clear that Garoppolo is the starter for this season, but he intends to play Lance to give the 49ers an advantage. Nip the quarterback controversy talk in the bud, but be clear the rookie will play. It could be a huge boost to San Francisco's offense.