Could Trey Lance secure starting QB job with impressive preseason finale?

Trey Lance has been up and down this preseason, but here’s why Kyle Shanahan could role with his top draft choice if he impresses in the preseason finale.

The San Francisco 49ers are too good of an organization to be finishing as poorly as they have in recent years. Apart from an impressive 13-3 season in 2019, this team has finished with a record between 2-14 to 6-10 five times in the past six years, according to Pro Football Reference.

Trey Lance is meant to change that. The 49ers moved up to the number three pick in the draft this year to secure Lance, and it won’t be long before the future franchise quarterback takes over as the starter.

Fans are hoping that time comes sooner rather than later. While Jimmy Garappolo has been frequently injured and never lived up to the lofty price tag San Francisco gave New England to acquire his services. Since joining the team, he’s only played in more than 6 games just once. While this was the year that the 49ers were good enough to go to the Super Bowl, fans are ready to make a change at quarterback.

So far, the 49ers haven’t declared who the starting quarterback will be in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, but Trey Lance may be able to earn the start with an impressive showing against the Las Vegas Raiders in his final preseason game.

What does Trey Lance need to do to become the 49ers starter?

Trey Lance has been very up and down this preseason, but the upside is easy to see. His touchdown strike to Travis Benjamin against the Chargers last week is a testament to this.

In his first preseason action against the Chiefs, Lance completed just 5 of 14 passes but made the most of his connections – earning 128 passing yards and a touchdown, via ESPN. His 9.1 yards per attempt topped Garappolo’s despite Lance’s poor completion percentage. However, one of the stories of the game is that Lance took 4 sacks in this contest.

Last week against the Chargers, it wasn’t always pretty for Lance, but he grossly outplayed Garoppolo who managed to complete just 3 of 6 passes for a dismal 15 yards (2.5 yards per attempt) and an interception. Lance, on the other hand, earned 102 yards on 14 attempts to go with 2 touchdowns and an interception en route to an 89.9 passer rating.

Nobody is pretending that Lance has been perfect in the early going. He still has some things he clearly needs to work on. However, trial by fire may not be a bad method in this case. Lance will do enough to keep the 49ers in nearly every contest and could be comfortable enough by the end of the season to potentially lead this team on a playoff run.

In order to have a shot to unseat Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance needs to put on another show this Sunday against the Raiders. If he can continue to impress, he could be labeled as the starting quarterback in Week 1 against the Lions.