Niners expected to lean on Trey Lance's strengths as rookie QB makes his first start vs. Cardinals

The San Francisco 49ers offense won’t drastically change for one start.

Trey Lance, the third overall pick in April’s draft, takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo today against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, and when Garoppolo is healthy, he gets his job back. That much head coach Kyle Shanahan has made clear this week. In fact, the hope is that it’s just a one-week stint for Lance, with Jimmy G returning from a calf contusion next week.

That said, it’s a fascinating opportunity to get an extended look at the only first-round QB who hasn’t started yet.

What’s he going to look like? According to John Beck, who worked with Lance up through the draft, it will be a mere glimpse of the future.

“I know the coaches want Trey to be Trey, with everything he can bring to the offense being very athletic and dynamic,” said Beck, a respected QB trainer who works with guru Adam Dedeaux, the CEO of 3DQB in California. “Those elements of the game will be woven into the game plan for him. And they’re going to run what he’s comfortable with. They know what plays he’s confident in, that’s what they’re going to lean on.”

The 6-foot-4, 224-pound Lance has already gotten his feet wet. A touchdown pass in the opener to start. Then, two more last week in place of the injured Garoppolo. All of which will help ease the nerves today as his team plays Arizona.

“That’s great for a QB to have already felt that,” Beck said, “before his first start on an NFL level.”

Shahanan, in announcing the decision on Friday, emphasized familiarity. Basically, they’ll do what Lance does best, but within the confines of the offense.

“You don’t want to sit there and make up too much new stuff,” Shanahan said. “It’s only a couple days of practicing it and we just want to make sure he’s as comfortable as possible.”

So, it won’t be drastically different. But San Fran will take advantage of Lance’s athleticism that Garoppolo may not have.

“There will be little wrinkles that will be Trey Lance,” Beck said. “Elements of athleticism and misdirection because of what he did in the RPO game in college. The 49ers are going to be the 49ers, but it’ll be woven in like little threads.”

From draft prep until now, Lance has been working on his fundamentals, timing up his feet and arm and getting the ball out on time. He’s been working on progressing through his reads and processing. In fact, that’s one of the reasons the 49ers drafted him — his brain.

All part of the package that we’ll see today.

“He’s a high processor of information,” Beck said. “And he’s athletic enough to move around and move through the system like they want. There is the aspect of the game where he can make plays with his feet. He can take all that to the field.”

Even if just for one game, the 49ers will get a look today.

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