The San Francisco 49ers feature one of the most intriguing storylines across the entire NFL this preseason. A season removed from a Super Bowl appearance that featured a solid season from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the team moved up in the 2021 NFL Draft to pick North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. It was a clear sign for the future, but left plenty of questions for the present.
The 49ers opened their 2021 preseason schedule on Saturday with a 19-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s what we learned about the QB competition.
Week 1 preseason reps, stats
Jimmy Garoppolo: 3-of-3, 26 yards — 8 snaps, 1 drive
Trey Lance: 5-of-14, 128 yards, 1 TD — 29 snaps, 8 drives
Who has the edge in the QB battle entering Week 2 of the 2021 NFL preseason?
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly stated Garoppolo will be his starting quarterback when Week 1 of the regular season arrives. In the first game, Garoppolo did nothing to dissuade that notion. He completed four passes and had one called back due to offensive pass interference. It wasn’t anything significant, but he only played one series.
However, what everyone will be talking about is Trey Lance’s touchdown pass. He three the air 40+ yards through the air to Trent Sherfield and the receiver took it to the house for an 80-yard touchdown.
Lance had highs and lows. That high was certainly something impressive, but he also made a couple bad decisions that he was fortunate did not turn into interceptions. But that’s what you can expect from a rookie quarterback. What was most interesting is the 49ers did not have him use his legs to gain yards. He did make plays in the pocket to extend plays, but we saw no run plays. And we probably won’t see many as Shanahan has said they’ll have packages for Lance in the regular season, and they likely do not want to get much of anything on film.
For now, Garoppolo remains the starter. Odds will tighten up for Lance, but this remains Garoppolo’s job to lose.