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49ers’ quarterback Trey Lance experiences a challenging beginning in preseason opener against the Raiders.

49ers' quarterback Trey Lance experiences a challenging beginning in preseason opener against the Raiders.49ers' quarterback Trey Lance experiences a challenging beginning in preseason opener against the Raiders.

49ers’ quarterback Trey Lance experiences a challenging beginning in preseason opener against the Raiders.

Publish – 14 aug , 2023

Trey Lance embarks on his third NFL season, a crucial juncture where the third overall picks of drafts typically hit their stride, if not already soaring.

However, Lance finds himself in a career standstill. Despite receiving limited support from the supporting cast during the San Francisco 49ers’ preseason debut against the Las Vegas Raiders, Lance displayed signs of uncertainty. His dropbacks often revealed hesitance, which could be anticipated given his limited playtime since the 2019 college season. His performance was marred by a series of errors. The primary inquiry shifts from whether Lance can contend for a starting role – as that prospect seems distant – to whether he or Sam Darnold will secure the 49ers’ secondary quarterback position.

Lance’s bid to solidify the backup role behind Brock Purdy likely faltered on Sunday. He concluded the game with a 10-of-15 record for 112 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders, demonstrating a late-game resurgence that salvaged his statistics. Yet, he also succumbed to four sacks and narrowly escaped two potential interceptions, including one within the end zone.

While there’s ample time remaining before the regular season kickoff, Lance’s preseason commencement could have unfolded more favorably. Lance’s initial three drives resulted in three-and-outs for the 49ers. Even during his fourth drive, culminating in a touchdown, a risky throw into end zone traffic marred his performance. Raiders’ cornerback Duke Shelley missed an interception opportunity, with the ball finding its way into the hands of 49ers’ tight end Ross Dwelley. Regrettably, this instance fails to showcase Lance’s prowess.

 

 

At least it managed to break the pattern of three-and-outs.

During the initial drive for the 49ers, Lance exhibited a double pump on his pass attempts, inadvertently providing an opportunity for the Raiders’ defense to converge upon him. Consequently, he faced two sacks.

Continuing onto the second drive, the 49ers found themselves confronted with yet another third down situation. Once again, Lance displayed hesitancy, succumbing to pressure and swiftly throwing an incomplete pass across the middle, leading to yet another unproductive three-and-out sequence.

The third drive mirrored the previous struggles. Lance’s decision-making appeared sluggish and his processing time lagged during a play-action pass on first down. Furthermore, he overthrew his intended target, resulting in an incompletion. However, on the subsequent second down, Lance showcased some agility by eluding the rush and gaining a few yards through a scramble. Nonetheless, his hesitation persisted on third down, resulting in another sack. Predictably, the 49ers faced another fruitless three-and-out outcome.

Following this, Lance’s performance improved, although not without errors.

Around the 11-minute mark of the second quarter, Lance finally connected for a first down, delivering a swift out-pass to the tight end. He exhibited mobility by scrambling to his right and connecting with Willie Snead for a 12-yard gain. Lance concluded this drive with a touchdown, but the coaches will assuredly address the mistake that was made.

As the fifth drive commenced, the offensive line provided Lance with a brief window of time during the first down, yet he chose not to release the ball and ended up being sacked. He rebounded with a commendable play, delivering a precise pass over the middle to Chris Conley on third-and-10. Unfortunately, the drive faltered when a fourth-and-2 rushing attempt was thwarted.

49ers' quarterback Trey Lance experiences a challenging beginning in preseason opener against the Raiders.
(AP Photo/John Locher)

49ers’ quarterback Trey Lance experiences a challenging beginning in preseason opener against the Raiders.

During the concluding drive of the first half, Lance delivered a pass over the middle where linebacker Amari Burney anticipated his gaze, reacted swiftly to the ball, and narrowly missed intercepting it. Following Burney’s near-miss, Lance connected with Conley for a 24-yard gain and then found tight end Troy Fumagalli for 22 yards, capitalizing on the opportunity provided by Burney’s lapse. These completions, combined with a defensive penalty, propelled the 49ers into field goal range. However, rookie third-round pick Jake Moody’s field goal attempt fell short as the half came to an end. The second half commenced with Darnold taking the field.

Lance encountered minimal assistance from the offensive line, while his receiving targets consisted of backup players rather than starters. Although the circumstances were less than ideal, Lance’s performance failed to capitalize on the situation.

San Francisco’s substantial trade to acquire Lance is now casting doubts, to say the least. The 49ers relinquished three first-round picks and a third-round pick in exchange for the opportunity to select Lance, who has made four starts and attempted 102 passes for the team. Unfortunately, injuries have impeded his progress. Notably, the 49ers have secured only one victory in games where Lance both started and completed the match—an outcome achieved against the Houston Texans, a struggling team, toward the conclusion of the 2021 season.

As the 49ers’ top quarterback, Purdy holds the mantle, with concerns focused primarily on his post-offseason surgery elbow health. Once he received medical clearance for practice, any debate regarding his position ceased.

Lance’s potential lies in clinching the backup role or perhaps generating enough momentum throughout the remainder of the preseason to attract interest for a potential trade. Nonetheless, initial indications are not particularly favorable for either scenario to unfold.

 

 

 

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