In his first season as the 49ers' starting quarterback, Trey Lance is expected to go through some growing pains.
But wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who worked out extensively with the second-year signal-caller in the offseason, is already seeing signs of growth in the way Lance throws the football.
"It comes out with a different pace," Aiyuk said of Lance's training camp passes during an interview with NFL Network on Tuesday. "At first, it was a little bit heavier. This year it has pace, but it’s a lot softer and a lot tighter so it’s easier for us to catch. I don’t know too much about throwing the football at the quarterback position, but I know as a receiver his balls are a little bit lighter coming into camp this year."
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Lighter throws and tighter spirals makes the jobs of Lance's wide receivers easier. Easier catches means bigger, more exciting plays like deep passes -- a part of the 49ers' offense that has been evident in the early days of training camp.
"I think it will look different," Aiyuk said of the 49ers' offense. "As you guys have seen the past couple of days, we’ve been taking a lot more shots down the field, trying to open it up a little bit more. And we do have the underneath stuff as well that we love to do. I think it’s going to be a little bit more explosive and a lot more bigger plays."
Aiyuk will likely have more opportunities to be on the receiving end of a deep ball from Lance as San Francisco's offense benefits from the quarterback's legs extending plays.
"We got extra time. It’s hard for those [defensive backs] to cover for seven, eight, 10 seconds," Aiyuk said. "He keeps plays alive. We’ve got to be just be able to be on the same page and roll with it when he does that."
Two connections between Lance and Aiyuk in Santa Clara have gone viral on Twitter in the last week. One, a deep ball that Lance hurled over the outstretched arms of cornerback Charvarius Ward that the wide receiver hauled in near the sideline.
The second was a lob in the corner of the end zone, which Aiyuk brought down over safety Jimmie Ward.
Yet another improvement Aiyuk has witnessed in his young quarterback.
San Francisco 49ers
"DBs and defensive players, they move so fast," Aiyuk said. "Not every ball can be a speed ball through guys. To learn, to touch those ball over zone defenders and get the ball up and down."