Jerry Rice has picked a side in the Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Trey Lance debate when it comes to who should be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback going forward.
When it comes to who should be starting under center for the San Francisco 49ers, Jerry Rice believes that man should be Trey Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo.
Rice may have only wanted a slushy or a scratch-off ticket at his local convenience store, but when KSBW put a camera and a microphone in his face, the 49ers legendary wide receiver answered the call alright. 2022 will be Lance’s second NFL season out of North Dakota State, while Garoppolo may have already been traded had he not undergone offseason shoulder surgery.
“Trey Lance, I think he’s ready to go,” said Rice to KSBW. “I think he’s incredible because he has that one aspect that Jimmy [Garoppolo] doesn’t have, and that’s the threat of running with the ball and stuff like that. His mobility, his strong arm. This guy is before his time. He’s a young kid, but he’s very experienced and I think he’s ready to go.”
Is Rice right in his logic, or is he being a good soldier by embracing the inevitable with the 49ers?
San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Rice picks Trey Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo
Look. From a goodwill ambassador standpoint, this is the right call for Rice to make. The 49ers are going to roll with Lance this season, as they look to trade Garoppolo sooner rather than later. San Francisco did give up major draft capital to move all the way up to No. 3 to take Lance out of North Dakota State in the 2021 NFL Draft. They also selected him ahead of Justin Field and Mac Jones…
In terms of Rice’s claim that Lance has a stronger arm and is more mobile than Garoppolo, he is absolutely correct. Again, this is why the 49ers seemingly gave up the farm to get him. As far as Rice’s other claims that he is “very experienced” and “he’s ready to go”, let’s put a pin into the balloon and pop that bad boy real quick, shall we? This is why moving off Garoppolo is so risky.
Though they both were outstanding FCS quarterbacks, Garoppolo had way more experience collegiately and professionally than Lance. He starred at Eastern Illinois for years before backing up Tom Brady in New England, and that was all before he got to San Francisco mid-season in 2017. Lance has essentially one year of FCS-level college football under his belt at this juncture.
Given that Kyle Shanahan’s offense is so incredibly complex, who is to say Lance is best-equipped to run this thing in his second professional season? Surely, Shanahan will shrink the playbook to help bring Lance along, but the 49ers could be a major regression candidate team this fall, based on making a change at quarterback. Long-term, it may work out, but he could also be Jordan Love.
Ultimately, the 49ers drafted Lance so high believing he could be the next Josh Allen or Carson Wentz. Newsflash, there is no next Josh Allen. As far as the Wentz comparisons, yes, they share the same alma mater, but Wentz is running through teams like the late Larry King did wives over the last three years. If he bombs in Washington, Wentz’s NFL career might be over as we know it.
While it serves Rice to be a big believer in Lance, he has proven nothing at the professional level.