The San Francisco 49ers play their first regular-season game on September 12 when they face the Detroit Lions. Only about two weeks away, the team still hasn’t named its starting quarterback. There’s a strong chance that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the first to carry the torch; however, some NFL analysts now believe that rookie QB Trey Lance might get the job. Either way, sports bettors are going to have a lot of options when they start making their NFL parlay bets ahead of the coming season.
Even if Lance doesn’t start, many believe he gives the Niners their best chance at winning games. However, at least one analyst, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz, is getting behind the rookie to start and he’s not alone. He points out that there is “growing buzz” in the league that San Fran should seriously consider putting him on the field before the veteran Garoppolo.
The fact that Lance, a third-round draft pick, is being considered as the starting QB is a shocker to most. Drafted out of North Dakota St., he didn’t play last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Schultz points to “a source” in his Tweeter feed, who said, “Trey Lance has an absolute cannon. I think Kyle Shanahan’s ability to design plays — combined w/Lance’s athletic ability and ridiculous arm strength — will offset Jimmy G’s advantage as a more accurate QB at this point that understands the offense better.”
The Niners have a reason to put Garoppolo out there at the start of the season. They have to rebound from a run of less-than-perfect seasons, and having an experienced play-caller could give the team momentum. the 49ers could opt to start Lance sooner rather than later. Head coach Kyle Shanahan knows what he has in Garoppolo, but acknowledges that Lance still needs to grow. San Fran is in a sensitive position this season, as the Niners are under a lot of pressure to win. They have three seasons with ten or more losses in the last four years, and Shanahan knows what’s at stake this time around. That would be the primary reason to keep the veteran on the field.
However, Lance has apparently progressed rapidly. John Lynch, the Niners’ GM, asserted earlier this month that he is impressed with how far Lance has come over the summer and is more open to giving him a chance. While that isn’t likely in Game 1, Garoppolo is going to have to step up if he expects to remain on the field and not be replaced by the rookie.
Another Niners player who hasn’t yet played an NFL regular-season game, despite being drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, is Jalen Hurd. However, the wide receiver was seen practicing with the team this week, participating in drills on Wednesday and Thursday. He was apparently doing well, as Shanahan has confirmed that he could be on the field this weekend against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Shanahan was on the KNBR’s Tolbert, Krueger, and Brooks show last week and, when asked what he thought about Hurd heading into the regular season, he expressed his optimism about the receiver’s performance. He added, “It’s not about showing us that he can make [the 53-man roster]. If Hurd’s healthy and he’s ready to go, there’s a reason we drafted him. I mean, Hurd’s going to be a hell of a player, but he’s been battling some serious injuries these last two years and what’s been great this week is he’s been out there.”
Granted, there were only two practices, which isn’t much time to really gauge a player’s performance, but Shanahan liked what he saw. From his comments, the coach is more concerned about Hurd staying healthy before he sets him loose. “We’ve had two really hard practices [and] he’s made them two days in a row in as much reps as he’s had since he’s been here,” Shanahan added. “We just finished our second one, [so] I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but he got through it, he looked good, and I hope he comes back tomorrow feeling good, and hopefully he gets some playing time here on Sunday if he feels right.”
Shanahan also asserted that his team will probably only count on a squad of six receivers; however, he didn’t name the complete list. Sunday’s game against the Raiders could provide a hint at who they might be.