After Trey Lance's first look at extended playing time last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the rookie will now be stepping up as starting quarterback against the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals.
Lance's start was expected after Jimmy Garoppolo missed all three of the week's practices and was officially ruled OUT by head coach Kyle Shanahan on Friday. After Garoppolo's calf injury in Week 4, the quarterback spent the week hopeful to bounce back against the Cardinals, however, acknowledged that he'd be "battling through" the injury if he were to suit up.
Lance's unexpected extended playing time against Seattle caught the eyes of many, but in particular, the eyes of Hall-of-Fame quarterback and 49ers alumnus Steve Young.
"Everything I had, you got it full speed. It was not very refined. I was not going to go down without a fight. We were going to move the ball. We were going to figure it out," Young said Thursday morning on KNBR. "I know that Trey has a much better team than I did, but wow! It was something you can build off of. And I left the game wanting to see more. I know it's going to be crazy and frenetic and we're going to have some growing pains, but I came away wanting to see more."
Just as Shanahan mentioned, Lance's performance had "some good and some bad" at home against the Seahawks. Although thrown into play just moments before the second half, Lance put up an admirable performance while under pressure. Kyler Murray won't be the only dual threat quarterback to enter the game on Sunday. Lance amassed 198 yards from scrimmage to go along with two total touchdowns against the Seahawks. Of his 198-yard performance, 41 came from seven rushes while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
"I'm excited to see him play," Shanahan said. "I know he's got the ability to do a lot of things. But it's going to be his first time out there for the whole game and I'm just pumped to see him play, but I don't go into it expecting anything. You try to prepare a guy as good as you can. From our standpoint, I know he's done his part in preparing. And then when Sunday comes, that's usually the spot where you get to have fun and just cut it loose and you live with the results."
Coming in early and staying late has been Lance's routine since he was first drafted in April, and his habits haven't changed leading up to his first NFL start. Teammates and coaches have noticed this sense of discipline and growth from the rookie quarterback as they have continued to encourage him for this moment. Even 11-year veteran left tackle Trent Williams has taken note of Lance's "confident aura," even whilst waiting for his number to be called on the sidelines.
"He's a very sharp kid. You see him improve play-by-play, even after running a play twice, the second time he runs he's well ahead," Williams said. "He's a smart guy that's why he got picked where he got picked."
Lance will get his first full showing of why the 49ers jumped nine spots to draft him No. 3 overall this past April. And although that might come with it's own set of pressures, Lance is approaching Sunday's contest with the same confidence that rallied a near-comeback just a week prior.
"I feel very prepared though. I really do," Lance said." And I think that's a credit to the coaching staff and the guys around me. Those guys that have made me feel very confident this week. And I feel confident in myself just as I did going into the Seattle game and just as I did every other week before this... [I'm] excited and feel ready for the week."