Why San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance is the NFL’s 2022 mystery man

0 Comments

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—“So,” I asked Niners GM John Lynch Sunday, “what’s the story with Jimmy Garoppolo? What’s he been doing every day?”

From his office desk in the shadow of the 49ers’ stadium, Lynch craned his neck toward the picture window on the side of his office. He pointed to the far practice field, where a solitary figure was working out and throwing footballs efficiently.

Garoppolo, who quarterbacked this team to a win over Aaron Rodgers and the top-seeded Packers eight months ago, is a strange sight to behold these days. He works out, throws and rehabs apart from his teammates, most often when they’re inside in meetings. When the other 89 men on the San Francisco roster are practicing outside, Garoppolo is usually inside, or on his way home. I heard he does not have a playbook, does not attend quarterback or team meetings and barely knows new quarterbacks coach Brian Griese.

While Garoppolo awaits his fate — he’s most likely to be released before Labor Day unless a needy team suffers a major quarterback injury or Deshaun Watson is banned for the season in Cleveland — the new kid, Trey Lance, spent Sunday taking every snap of practice. Seriously: every one. Lance played little in the preseason opener Friday and won’t play next weekend at Minnesota, so afternoons like Sunday are crucial in his development.

Lance has thrown 389 passes in real football games since he graduated from high school, and this Final Four team in 2021 is working to try to be a Final One team in ’22. So every rep is gold for him now. And for his coach, Kyle Shanahan, who thinks that Lance, eventually, can take this team deeper into the playoffs and do more things with his arm and legs than Garoppolo could.

But whether Lance can do it is one of football’s great mysteries entering this season. Shanahan really likes coaching Lance and loves his potential, but sitting in his office after practice Sunday, he made a startling admission that really should be startling about a player who’s had one starting season—that in FBS football—in the last four years.

“Is Trey ready to take it on his shoulders?” Shanahan said. “He shouldn’t be. He hasn’t gone through it enough.

“I believe in him as a man, as a person. I believe in his talent. I don’t think he is going to make or break our season, just like in 2019 and last year, I didn’t think Jimmy was going to make or break our season.

“But what sucks is when you’re learning how to play and you’re not there yet, how do you not get worse sometimes when that pressure’s on you and you need to go through the growing pains?”

Complicated story, as you can see.

Most places I go, practice gets a little humdrum at times. I’ve been watching summer football practices since 1984, when I covered the Bengals, and I once had the audacity during a blazing-hot two-a-day full-padded practice to ask Cincinnati owner Paul Brown — only one of the greatest coaches in the history of this game — whether he ever got tired of four hours of football practice, daily, in the heat of camp.

“Young man!” Brown said sharply. “This is our lifeblood!”

Bad question.

I thought of that Sunday, watching Lance take every snap of a camp practice. For Lance, this is lifeblood stuff. Part of the heavy load was because the Niners had a game Friday night, so Shanahan wanted most of those who played big swaths of the game to sit out Sunday, with those who didn’t play Friday night getting lots of work here. Lance got 11 snaps Friday, ergo he played a lot Sunday.

I loved it. Facing lots of first-teamers on an excellent defense is the best medicine for Lance right now. I compared Lance of 2021 camp to Lance of today (no tape, just recalling from my mind’s eye), and the words that came to mind were “more decisive.” He’s more confident, more sure in the pocket. No wasted motion. The footwork is significantly better.

He made three superb throws, I thought, on Sunday: a lofted corner route to Deebo Samuel, throw right on target…a red zone TD throw, with soft, excellent touch, to tight end Ross Dwelley in the right corner of the end zone. “You stayed in,” the back judge working the practice said to Dwelley, nodding…a three-quarters-motion throw, also for a TD, to tight end George Kittle, who had to stretch to make the catch. The awareness, avoiding the rush by coming down with the arm angle on the throw, was perfect.

Trey Lance threw for 603 yards in his rookie season with the 49ers. (NBC Sports)

“Mentally,” he said later, “I feel like things are a lot more clear for me. I understand the offense, and I’m able to play fast.”

That’s the good. I worry a bit about the accuracy. In this practice, he threw high on a 15-yard cross for Brandon Aiyuk, a throw that should be easy. He missed an open Samuel twice, by my count.

There’s a lot to learn in all aspects of the game. Before practice Sunday, Shanahan met with the full team and reviewed the win over Green Bay. What bugged Shanahan was some of the sloppiness, even on big plays. One of the big stars for the Niners was rookie third-round wideout Danny Gray, who caught a 76-yard TD bomb from Lance in the first quarter. “Your game is speed,” Shanahan told him. Yet Gray broke from the line in a bad stance, negating his best asset, and the TD made everyone overlook it.

Same thing with Lance. On an early handoff to running back Trey Sermon, Lance was supposed to carry out a bootleg fake, so maybe a defender or two would chase him and not Sermon. No. Lance just watched the play develop, and didn’t carry out the fake. Shanahan said: Great, you threw a touchdown pass and we won. But you’ve got to do everything well, not just some things.

When I asked Shanahan about it, the answer was some about his own players, some about coaching, some about society. I think his answer’s important — all of it — to coaches and players.

“I don’t have to think too hard about things,” Shanahan said. “I just say what’s there. These guys are told after games they’re successful because they won a fantasy football game for their uncle or something. If you get the numbers and stuff, you played good, according to everybody. That doesn’t tell you anything. Nothing. We talk about what actually happened on the play. We can say we had a good game because we won, but that’s not really what we’re focused on here in the preseason. We’re focused on the product and how you did it.

“It’s up to me to teach these guys that the people who are deciding whether you make the team or people around the league who are deciding if you don’t make it here, whether they could sign you to their active roster, how those people see the play. I want them to know what coaches who are studying you see on tape. Then you actually get the reality. Stats don’t dictate success. Doing it the right way dictates success.”

So…the near future. What’s it say?

The Niners have two weeks to cut the roster to 53. Theoretically, they would want to make a decision on Garoppolo by then, because in an ideal world they don’t want a guy they have no intention of keeping count against their 53. But that’s out of their hands unless Cleveland or Seattle figures it would be smart to trade something for him. If they keep Garoppolo, they’d have to expose a make-it player on cutdown day and they could lose a valuable special-teams performer, let’s say. The next landmark is the week before the Sept. 11 opener. If Garoppolo is on the roster then, the club would have to guarantee his $24.2-million salary for the season.

The reality is that the Niners likely won’t keep Garoppolo with the big salary. But then there’s the danger of releasing Jimmy G before the season, and a motivated Garoppolo going to Seattle, for example (San Francisco’s week two foe), and interfering with the Niners’ contention plans.

With or without the solitary figure on the practice field, this team is Lance’s now. And I would advise patience for Niners fans. It’s absurd to expect a savior to show up at Soldier Field in the opener. Shanahan will be ready to take some pain in 2022. Will Niners Nation?

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

49ers vs Broncos live stream: How to watch SNF online, time, TV channel tonight for NFL Week 3 matchup

0 Comments

With 2 weeks of action already in the books, all the attention now shifts to Week 3. This Sunday night, September 25, it’s Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers taking on Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos in a battle at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC and streaming live on Peacock.

Wilson is 16-4 against the 49ers in the regular season and has thrown 36 touchdown passes against San Francisco, the most he’s thrown against any opponent. On the other side, Garoppolo, who entered the game in Week 2 after Trey Lance suffered an ankle injury, owns a 31-14 record as the 49ers’ starting quarterback and has led the team to two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl.

More from NBC Sports Pressbox:

San Francisco and Denver will meet for the 16th time on Sunday and the 49ers currently hold an 8-7 advantage in the all-time series, including the postseason. The SNF matchup will mark the first meeting between the teams since Week 14 in 2018. The 49ers went on to win that game, 20-14.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

NBC has got you covered with all you need to know about the game including the TV channel, start time, live stream information, and more.

How to watch 49ers vs Broncos live on Sunday Night Football

  • Where: Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
  • When: Sunday, September 25
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

RELATED: Peter King’s 2022 NFL Season Predictions

This NFL season, Peacock is streaming all of NBC’s NFL games including regular season and playoff games. More from Peacock’s website:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football with a Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here.

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: See the 2022 NFL Sunday Night Football schedule here

Tune into Football Night in America this week and all season long, for new weekly segments hosted by Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, now showcasing real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker, courtesy of BetMGM. 

Don’t forget to stick around postgame because Peacock Sunday Night Football Final is going to go deep on all the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

Make sure to visit NBC Sports EDGE, NBC’s betting and fantasy sports site, for in-depth coverage highlighting the players and storylines impacting the football season on Peacock and across NBC Sports digital platforms.

RELATED: Check out all the latest NFL news and Rumors for the 2022 season

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

3 Comments

The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night features a match-up between Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers vs Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s game as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season. See below for the complete 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule and find out how to live stream every game on Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 2 – Mike McDaniel’s ‘F— It’ Play Powers Dolphins’ Comeback and How 49ers Adjust Without Trey Lance

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – 49ers at Broncos

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Chiefs at Buccaneers

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

 RELATED: How to watch 49ers vs Broncos – Live stream, TV Channel, Game Preview


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 3 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: PFT’s Week 2 2022 NFL picks


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!