Shanahan wants his fellow 49ers to get back QB Trey Lance

SANTA CLARA, CA (AFP) – Kyle Shanahan knows what the talk will be about the San Francisco 49ers if quarterback Tre Lance struggles in his first season as starter Jimmy Garoppolo waits on the bench.

There will be calls from some fans for a return to QB who helped the Niners reach the NFC and Super Bowl seasons in health as a start, and questions from the media about whether Lance is ready for the job.

“We all know how it’s going to go,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “I also know if Jimmy wasn’t here and Trey’s performance was bad, how would it go. So we understand that. The fact that he has such a successful linebacker behind him, it’s clear how this narrative is going to be and understandably so.”

This outside pressure had no bearing on the Niners’ decision last week to return Garoppolo to a discounted contract as backup.

But the coach still felt it was important enough before the news broke to gather a group of about 15 captains to explain the club’s thinking about making the move. His message to the players was to make sure they were supporting Lance through any rough patches.

“I think our players also know that Jimmy has been through tough times as well, and they have had his back,” Shanahan said. “No matter if they think there is a better option, they have supported it and people have to realize that. I think the players need to realize that just like their position, it also happens at the center back. You are not going to be perfect. … You have to realize That when you’re struggling, these guys know it’s very difficult to play well when there’s no one to support you. You have to help guys through that. I think we’ve got guys who can do that.”

The Niners are at full speed with the Lance starting with their opening game Sunday in Chicago. This is the first time since 2019 that Lance starts the season as a rookie; North Dakota’s 2020 season was wiped out by the pandemic, and he then spent his rookie year in the NFL supporting Garoppolo.