Monday, August 8, 2022

Jerry Rice thinks Trey Lance is ‘ready to go’ for 49ers: ‘He has that one aspect Jimmy (Garoppolo) doesn’t’

Jerry Rice has played with MVP quarterbacks throughout his career as the greatest wide receiver ever. Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Rich Gannon can certainly stake claim how Rice made their lives easier in the midst of their excellent careers. 

Rice knows good quarterbacks when he sees them. He believes Trey Lance — who is set to be the San Francisco 49ers‘ starting quarterback this season — is set to succeed in the NFL in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. 

“I think he’s ready to go,” Rice said to KSBW-TV, via 49ers WebZone. “And I think he’s incredible because he has that one aspect that Jimmy doesn’t have, and that’s the threat of running with the ball and stuff like that. So his mobility, his strong arm, and this guy, he’s before his time.”

Lance doesn’t have many snaps to work with over the last two seasons, throwing just 101 passes combined during his rookie campaign and his final season at North Dakota State. Serving as the backup to Jimmy Garoppolo in his rookie season, Lance completed 41 of 71 passes (57.7%) for 603 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions, while rushing 38 times for 168 yards and a touchdown.

In Lance’s last full season (2019), he completed 66.9% of his passes for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions in his redshirt freshman campaign for North Dakota State, leading the Bison to a national championship. He also recorded 1,100 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns — averaging 6.5 yards per carry. This helped prompt the 49ers to trade up to take him No. 3 overall in 2021. 

Garoppolo completed 68.3% of his passes for 3,810 yards with 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions last season, recording a 98.7 passer rating and leading the league in yards per completion (12.7). He was second in the league in completion rate (71.1%) since Week 10 and fourth in passer rating (103.6) in that same stretch. His 8.64 yards per attempt were second in the NFL. 

The 49ers are taking a risk with switching from Garoppolo to Lance, as Garoppolo’s .702 win percentage is behind only Patrick Mahomes (.794), Tom Brady (.769), and Lamar Jackson (.755) for best among active quarterbacks. Garoppolo trails only Mahomes for best winning percentage on the road in league history. 

While Rice is sold on Lance, the greatest wide receiver ever believes Shanahan should let him and Garoppolo compete for the job — if Garoppolo is still on the roster. 

“Let them compete,” Rice said. “Bill Walsh always opened the door for competition. Let them compete and the best guy should be the starter.”

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