Don’t ask Kyle Shanahan when Trey Lance is going to play more. Is it reasonable to ask when the quarterback who the 49ers mortgaged their future for by investing three first-round picks (two in the future) and one future third-round pick into, is going to play more? As far as Shanahan is concerned, he seems to think he’s already answered that.
On Wednesday, Shanahan was asked by a reporter — who cited Shanahan saying Lance was “too good to keep off the field” in training camp — why he’s changed his mind.
“I didn’t change my mind,” Shanahan said. “We have put him on the field. We do it in situations. You can go with whatever you want what I say in training camp. You can expand on that or not but I think I was asked coming off the field of our third game, if we’d see this in the regular season, I said, ‘Probably not.’
“So, I think a lot of words have been put in my mouth with some of that stuff or exaggerated pretty big. So I pretty much keep it pretty real to everyone, but I don’t just tell everyone the answer. I have no problem with you guys overdoing that, and Detroit working on that extremely hard, but I’ve been pretty consistent with what I’ve said.”
Asked why he shepherded Lance and Garoppolo in and out pretty frequently in the preseason, Shanahan said, effectively, it was just the preseason.
“It was preseason, it was fun to do, but it has to do with the team we’re playing the next week. It doesn’t have to do with reactions, it has to do with how people prepare for people.”
One of the criticisms of Shanahan this past week was that he didn’t use Lance more, especially given the 49ers’ inability to run the ball in the first half.
The 49ers ran eight times for 15 yards in the first half with one touchdown from Lance on a one-yard rush in the first half.
Shanahan said after the game that Lance can’t just be used as a running back and doubled down on Wednesday, saying clearly that Lance is the backup, and seemingly pouring cold water on the idea of getting him increased usage.
“Trey’s our backup quarterback. This isn’t the preseason,” Shanahan said. “We’re not just going back and forth all the time. Trey goes in for specific plays.
“Trey, week in, week out, he gets better each week the more reps he gets on scout team and stuff like that but there’s not a big decision going into each week. We put in a game plan for our starting quarterback, backup needs to be able to do all of that if he gets hurt, and what’s cool about Trey is because of his skillset, we obviously keep him alive with a couple plays on situations.”