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NFL Draft

Will 49ers Play Both Lance & Garoppolo In Regular Season?

  • The Draft Network
  • August 27, 2021
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There’s an interesting and unique storyline potentially brewing in the Bay Area. While teams like Denver and New Orleans have made their decisions in recent days, the San Francisco 49ers have yet to name a starting quarterback for their Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Detroit Lions, as the battle between veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance is ongoing.

There are a few noteworthy things worth examining here. On Wednesday, Garoppolo acknowledged a recent conversation with former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees that largely focused on how Brees handled exiting the field for Taysom Hill on occasion.

“We [Drew and I] talked about that situation for a little bit, and how he and Taysom did it,” Garoppolo told NBC Sports. “And it’s a thing I wasn’t really used to, I guess you could say. I was trying to pick his brain and see how he handled it. He’d come out for a play or two and then go back in. We talked about how that worked.” 

It leads me to the question: Why would Garoppolo have that conversation with Brees if he hasn’t already been tipped off to the possibility of sharing snaps with Lance this coming season? 49ers general manager Jon Lynch added some fuel to the fire with some interesting comments of his own on Friday morning.

“If we’re in a situation [two quarterbacks] like that, yes, it’s difficult to prepare for,” Lynch said, via KNBR’s Murph and Mac, via 49ersWebZone. “We haven’t shown a lot of that in the preseason as far as the things we can do with both Trey and Jimmy. That’s league wide. You really don’t know what you’re going to see going into the first couple of games.”

It’s worth noting that local beat writers have captured similar quotes from Shanahan on several occasions of late.

Here’s my line of thinking. At the very least, the 49ers want to force opposing defenses to game plan for both players, and why wouldn’t they? There’s a competitive advantage to be gained there. If you’re preparing for both quarterbacks, are you truly prepared at all? But these comments seem to go beyond that sentiment. Is head coach Kyle Shanahan really bold enough to run a two-quarterback system in 2021? There’s a lot of smoke here, and where there’s smoke, there’s often fire.

It’s something that has worked to an extent in New Orleans over the past few years with Taysom Hill often replacing Drew Brees in certain packages. There’s a difference between these two situations, though. Hill is a gadgety weapon that can block and catch. Neither Lance nor Garoppolo are made of that same mold.

Shanahan possesses one of the most creative offensive minds in the NFL and we wouldn’t put anything past him, but we hope he isn’t biting off more than he can chew. This could be an unprecedented and complex situation. We look forward to covering these developments in the coming weeks.

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