Purdy Shines as Lance is Traded

The last preseason game is overshadowed by the Trey Lance trade.  Many have opinions about it.  Some may feel betrayed by the front office.  The fact is the Niners brass gambled on a one-year FCS starter and lost.  It happens.  Much is made of the fact that the Niners traded two first round picks, a third and flipped a first-round pick to move up to draft Lance.  Many complain about who the 49ers could have drafted with the picks they traded a way.  So what?

The reason I can say “so what” is due to several factors.  First, the coaching staff is among the best in the league.  Second, the Niners have managed to acquire players such as Trent Williams, Christian McCaffrey, Charvarius Ward and Javon Hargrave despite missing on first round picks.  Third the Niners find a way to hit on late round picks consistently.  Their biggest hit appears to the Niners next great quarterback, Brock Purdy.  Taken in the seventh round, Purdy has earned the respect of the locker room and his coaching staff despite his humble beginnings.  Lastly, trading away those picks does not matter because who knows how a different player taken in the same slot would affect the Niners season.  Imagine if the 49ers drafted Patrick Mahomes instead of Solomon Thomas?

The 49ers are in great shape and it’s time to get focused on the season!


Pre-Season Game 3

Brock Purdy came out firing.  During his first five stop drop he surveyed the field and as soon as he hit his back foot he fired to Kyle Juszcyck.  Purdy was crisp with his throw’s and quick with his decision making.  He wasn’t perfect though.  He threw one a way, he had an overthrow and one throw was too tall for Brandon Aiyuk.  He also bumbled a handoff by tripping Jordan Mason.  Still, he made up for it by hitting four different receivers for 73 yards and by running in a touchdown after a pump fake.  Brock looks ready.

Jordan Mason had a nice outing.  He is a powerful runner with the ball.  His one mistake cost the 49ers a goal line touchdown.  Thankfully it’s the pre-season.  Mason figures to play a bigger role this season as he also showed off his route running and pass catching skills.  Clearly Christian McCaffrey is having a positive impact on the running-backs room.

The starting defense played a great first series.  Javon Kinlaw had a tremendous push into the backfield as Fred Warner follows him into the vacant hole sacking Easton Stick to end the Charger’s drive.  The defensive performance was abysmal the remainder of the game.

Equally abysmal was the play of the special teams.  The Niners lack of a kicking game forced the offense to go for two every time.  The Niners must sort out who will end up kicking with both of their kickers nursing injuries.

Lastly, Sam Darnold appears to leave much to be desired.  Though it’s the pre-season, Sam has struggled to consistently lead the offense to the endzone.  He managed to lead one scoring drive in six during game three.  His performance does not give a lot of confidence.  Some may argue that he is playing with substandard players against substandard players with a vanilla offense and no game plan.  Yet, Purdy has played under similar conditions, and he has found a way to the redzone every time he was under center.  Reports are that Darnold has had an excellent camp.  I hope we don’t have to see him under center because pre-season game day has not been kind to him.

The Niners performance is not a harbinger of the season’s future.  We saw glimpses of brilliance.  Still, the Niners weaknesses appear to be their kicking game along with depth on their offensive and defensive line.  Coach Shanahan and company are smart enough to scheme around those issues.


Trey Lance Trade

The Trey Lance trade should not be too surprising, especially with the announcement that he is third on the depth chart behind Sam Darnold.  Lance was a massive gamble that didn’t work out for the 49er’s front office.  The 49ers are forced to make the best decision for the team in the moment.  Results in the present matter.  The 49ers are stocked full of superstars that are ready to win right now.  Brock Purdy has shown he is capable of being the point guard Coach Shanahan needs to distribute the ball to the playmakers on this squad.  Unfortunately, Trey Lance did not want to stick around for further development.  It appeared that the front office was willing to keep him and his cap on the books until Trey asked for a trade.  At that point, team chemistry, and the need to free up cap space took precedent.

It is disappointing that this young man asked for a trade.  I think it’s indicative of the times.  I think Trey Lance feels a sense of entitlement.  He was drafted 3rd overall.  He did earn the starting spot last year, only to lose it due to injury.  Yet, he has failed to learn what many fail to learn.  It takes time to hone the skills necessary to be great.  Purdy did that over four seasons at Iowa State.  Purdy has endured adversity.  Purdy has taken a bloody nose and gotten back up off the field and led his team.  Intestinal fortitude and mental toughness are learned thru hard experiences.  Lance’s mental make-up hasn’t reached this level yet….and who knows if it ever will.

I have always believed that Lance had the upside warranted to justify the trade and pick.  However, it cannot be denied that Lance’s lack of experience hurt him.  There is a reason he didn’t throw many interceptions in college.  He was given the time behind the best offensive line in FCS to pick his receivers and deliver the ball.  The NFL does not give you that luxury.  Further, the NFL throws exotic coverages at you.  The NFL requires you to survey and deliver as fast as it takes me to type the words, “survey and deliver”.  Lance has failed to show he can do that.  Can he develop that skill?  Maybe.  He has everything else you need to be a franchise quarterback.  He is smart.  He is big.  He does have a strong arm.  He is not as mobile as some, but he has enough mobility to get himself out of trouble.  I still think he is a better option than Darnold but I am not in the meeting rooms or on the practice field.  I wish him well.  It’s time to move on.

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