In Week 17, San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance stepped in for Jimmy Garoppolo, who was dealing with a torn ligament injury in his throwing thumb. With a crucial Week 18 matchup against the Rams on tap, what is the quarterback situation for San Francisco?
Update: Jimmy Garoppolo is active for the 49ers Week 18. Garoppolo is expected to start, with Lance as the backup.
Is Trey Lance playing today vs. the Rams?
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Garoppolo is going to be the starter today. The 49ers need to win the game to make the postseason, and thus, will go with their current starter over the future of the franchise in Lance.
Garoppolo missed Week 17, but Lance did his job helping the Niners win the game in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. This week, players have noted that Garoppolo has looked “normal” in practice, despite being listed as a light practice participant. Therefore, the expectation is that he will start the game.
How has Lance performed so far this season?
The expectation with Lance was never that he would play all that much in 2021. He didn’t need to. Garoppolo is a capable starter, and while he might not have the running capabilities to open up the offensive playbook in the way head coach Kyle Shanahan would like, his experience is preferable, at least for now.
It allows San Francisco to nurture the somewhat raw talent of the former North Dakota State QB. Affording him the time to develop and get comfortable in the league is a practice known to work for many other young talents. Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers are two of the best examples.
Nevertheless, Lance did cover for Garoppolo on two occasions this season. When Jimmy G. left the Niners’ Week 4 matchup against the Seahawks, Lance came in and went 9-of-18 for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns. He then played the following week in his first professional start against Arizona, going 15-of-29 for 192 yards and 1 interception.
Last week against the Houston Texans, Lance saw the second start of his professional career. His performance was stellar, and he managed the highest completion rate of his short career so far. Lance was 16-of-23 for 249 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Furthermore, he began to show the promise the 49ers are looking for in him.
Who will be the 49ers’ starting QB in 2022?
That is yet to be decided. Do the 49ers believe Lance will be ready in Year 2? Are they ready to accept trade offers for Garoppolo, who has one year left on his contract? Based on his performances this season, Jimmy G. would likely attract significant attention should he be made available.
The 49ers can hold onto Garoppolo through the 2022 season if they wish to, but will we see a changing of the guard before too long?