When the San Francisco 49ers drafted Trey Lance in with the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, everybody started to wonder if that was the end of Jimmy Garoppolo's starting role.
After Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, when Lance played four snaps, including a red zone pass that ended in a five-yard touchdown, questions about Garoppolo's starting credentials piled up even higher.
Then, in Week 2, against the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL held its breath, waiting for Lance to take the field. But that did not happen. Garoppolo played all the snaps while Lance was watching from the sidelines.
Shanahan trust his instincts
Lance's zero snaps in Week 2 has generated tremendous buzz around the NFL, with head coach Kyle Shanahan defending his decision by saying:
"No. I never have a plan that – 'hey, I'm going to use him [Lance], or I'm not going to use him.' It's always an option throughout the game. It's been two games, and I've never had him in the openers, and I've never had him at a designated time.
"I plan on doing that week-to-week and whenever I feel like putting him in. You saw when I did in Week 1, and I never got that urge in Week 2."
Shanahan has his priorities straight
The 49ers head coach knows the Garoppolo-Lance situation can quickly go sour, which would be bad for both players, the team, and him. Ultimately, Shanahan is acting realistically and caring more about winning games than any internal competition.
"I understand every angle that people want to take with it," he added. "But I also understand that we're an NFL team, and we're trying to win each game, and we do have a starting quarterback [Garoppolo], and that usually makes it pretty simple.
"But when your backup quarterback [Lance] does have a skill set that can bring different things to the game, that's what gives him an option for us to do. He has something that someone has to prepare for week-in and week-out. And I think that's an awesome club that we have in our bag that we can use at any time."
Lance should trust Shanahan
Rather than being anxious to be QB number one, Trey Lance should first focus on learning. Lance must use his time on the bench to study the differences between the NFL and the NCAA, the other teams' weaknesses, and how he could use his skillset to improve the 49ers' offence.
If Lance only thinks about starting other than using his time to develop, he will never be the QB that Shanahan believes he could be.
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"But you don't make decisions based off your team of just putting a guy in totally just for how that is for him in the future," Shanahan said. "I think that'd be irresponsible to everybody else in the room. You do it if you think it gives you a chance based off of what's going on in that game, that game only.
"In the meantime, yeah, it's nice for a guy to get out there. But if it wasn't because he was bringing a different element that we thought could help us with something that we're going against, there's no other reason that we would do it."