Trey Lance will get the start at quarterback for the 49ers Sunday in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, but as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, Garoppolo will get his job back as soon as he is healthy enough. The Niners hope that will happen when they return from their Week 6 bye to take on the Colts in Week 7.
Although San Francisco obviously selected Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft with the hopes that he would be the long-term solution at quarterback, head coach Kyle Shanahan has made it clear ever since Lance was drafted that Garoppolo would remain the club’s starter in the near-term — and perhaps even through the 2022 season (although, that would certainly qualify as a surprise).
When recently asked about the possibility of getting Lance more involved in the offense, Shanahan said, “There’s not a quarterback battle right now. We’re going with [Garoppolo] who I think is playing very well. I’m happy that he is so Trey is not thrown into any situations he has to do too early.”
At the time Shanahan made that statement, the 49ers had just lost their first game of the season, a narrow defeat to the Packers that dropped them to 2-1 on the season. But they followed that up with a loss to the Seahawks last week, a game in which Garoppolo suffered the calf injury that limited him to one half of play and that is keeping him on the sidelines this week. Although he threw a TD pass on the Niners’ first drive of the Seattle contest, Garoppolo struggled to get anything going during the rest of his time on the field.
For the season, the soon-to-be 30-year-old has completed 66.1% of his passes for five TDs and two interceptions, good for a 96.2 QB rating. After replacing Garoppolo against the Seahawks, Lance threw a 76-yard TD strike to Deebo Samuel, but he was unable to cross midfield again until there was just 1:20 left in the game. He ultimately completed nine of 18 passes for 157 yards and two scores.
Of course, if the North Dakota State product impresses Sunday, Shanahan could change his tune in a hurry. But if Lance should struggle, then look for Garoppolo to be reinserted into the starting lineup in two weeks’ time.
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