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Was San Francisco rookie QB Trey Lance shaky in his debut for the 49ers?

Many were impressed with Trey Lance's bomb but was Lance shaky in his first NFL action?
Many were impressed with Trey Lance’s bomb but was Lance shaky in his first NFL action?

It is well documented that I was the loudest anti-Trey Lance voice in America prior to the 2021 NFL Draft

I admit, seeing Lance heave that 80-yard touchdown pass did not look too good for me. Just when I thought I might be able to parlay this pre-draft prediction into a general manager position, Lance made me look foolish right off the bat. I am sure there were countless people out there watching as 49ers’ receiver Trent Sherfield was running towards the end zone, who were saying my name along with some other choice expletives.

I will always be the first to stand corrected if I am wrong about a player. 

A close friend of mine who has scouted in the NFL for years told me all about 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan and how outside of former Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, he is the best quarterback coach out there. My friend told me that Shanahan is such a great strategist, he is going to have receivers running wide open for Lance to throw to. We saw some of that against Kansas City Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco. 

We also saw some of what I screamed through my keyboard about Lance prior to San Francisco mortgaging the future for him. Four sacks (one fumble), some accuracy misfires and two footballs that hit Chiefs’ defensive backs right in the hands, but they dropped them. These things consistently showed up at North Dakota State and these things also showed up right away in the first half against Kansas City. 

San Francisco faithful are buzzing on social media about Lance about that beautiful 80-yard touchdown pass, but nobody is saying much about the stuff that did not look too good either? Throw in the fact pre-season NFL defense is as vanilla as ice cream and it leaves me still feeling pretty good about my pre-draft scouting report. 

Everyone wants to just focus on the positives and I get that – – and I am not going to deny any of that. I also remember RGIII starting out very similarly with a 88-yard touchdown right out of the gates for the Redskins and Kyle Shanahan and his daddy ruined him. 

While there is reason for optimism based on a couple really nice throws and how Lance responded to his first NFL action – – there is also still the problem he takes way too many sacks, and there are still the dangerous inconsistencies with his accuracy. 

Eventually opposing defensive backs are going to start catching some of those when he attempts to throw anything deeper than a screen pass. 

Is the glass half empty or half full? 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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