After a ton of injuries that derailed their 2020 season, the San Francisco 49ers are back with a new life and huge expectations for 2021 following their trade up in the draft that netted Trey Lance for the franchise.
What can we expect from the San Francisco 49ers' offense?
Although Lance's ceiling is a clear upgrade over Garoppolo's floor, the veteran is still a lock to start week 1 according to Kyle Shanahan.
But there's another important thing that was crucial for the 49ers to trade up: Garoppolo is an injury prone quarterback. If he gets hurt during the regular season, then Shanahan will have no option other than putting Lance on the field. However, there's absolutely no need for Garoppolo to see extended playing time during the preseason considering his medical history.
That way, we will see glimpses of Shanahan's plans for Lance when the rookie steps into the field. A lot of zone-read, designed runs, play-action, everything that the new kid on the block used to do back in North Dakota State.
We will also see a lot of deep shots considering Lance's strong arm and the wide receiver group the 49ers have right now. Travis Benjamin, Kevin White, River Cracraft and Mohamed Sanu will all hope to impress during the three August games in order to carve themselves a roster spot.
What to expect from the San Francisco 49ers' defense?
The defensive line merits some attention with the return of Nick Bosa following his ACL injury last year, but Dee Ford will also be returning from his mysterious back injury. New additions such as Maurice Hurst, Samson Ebukam and Arden Key will see extended playing time as well.
The cornerback group will be one to watch as both Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon left the franchise during free agency. Who will step up alongside Jason Verrett? Emmanuel Moseley is the favorite, but he's had his fair share of struggles the last two years, so he's not a lock.
What to look for during the San Francisco 49ers' preseason?
Two things are the most important for the 49ers during this month: to assess the health of important players who were hurt last year, like Garoppolo, Bosa, Ford and Raheem Mostert, and avaliating Trey Lance in game speed.
For the fans, Lance will be the most important thing during the three games. After such a bold move to acquire his services, everything he does in the preseason will be analyzed by everybody. It's important to take the right steps to develop him and let him shine all his potential.
San Francisco 49ers preseason prediction
There are three West Coast games for San Francisco this month, and they will all be against teams who are playoff contenders.
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Of course, records don't matter in the preseason, but the deciding factor here is that Trey Lance will see extended playing time, and he's killing it during training camp. If his strong form during practice continues in live action, then the 49ers will win at least two of the three games against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders.