Lance takes advantage of valuable practice snaps vs. Vikings


EAGAN, Minn. — Tight end George Kittle keeps seeing improvement from 49ers' first-year starting quarterback Trey Lance.

And that includes the strides he's made with making things a little easier on his receivers.

“I think his touch has definitely gotten a lot better since he first got here,” Kittle said Wednesday following the 49ers’ two-hour joint practice against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I’m pretty sure one of my first 5-yard routes, he threw it at my head and tried to take my helmet off. Now, he’s got some nice to touch to it.”

Lance took 35 snaps with the first-team offense on Wednesday and completed 10 of 16 pass attempts, most of which were on underneath routes against the Vikings’ first-team defense.

He was under some pressure with four would-be sacks, and he dropped a low shotgun snap from center Jake Brendel.

Overall, coach Kyle Shanahan said he was encouraged by what he saw from the offense during practice.

“Trey’s done a good job,” Shanahan said. “I thought he had a good day today. We’re in the middle of camp, so there’s some good and some bad, but he’s getting better through the whole process.”

Lance began a little slow on Wednesday, as he threw behind wide receiver Deebo Samuel on a deep in-breaking route. Then, he threw long for rookie receiver Danny Gray. Lance and Samuel hooked up for three pass completions.

Lance still needs to be more consistent with hitting his receivers in stride to help his playmakers account for more yards after the catch.

“I think there’s been a lot of hits and some misses,” Kittle said. “Nothing I’m worried about. Trey has consistently gotten better and better every single day.

“He’s way better than he was when we first got him. He’s better than he was last year. He’s better than he was in OTAs. So as long as I keep seeing his consistent, small steps in the same direction it’ll lead to great results. I’m pretty confident in his ability.”

Lance capped practice during a two-minute drill with a play in which he scrambled and bought time with his legs to find Samuel for a 30-yard gain to get the team into field-goal position.

RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in preseason win over Packers

The 49ers and Vikings will practice again on Thursday.

Because Lance is getting valuable practice reps in a controlled setting, Shanahan said he does not plan for his first-year starting quarterback to see any action Saturday night when the two teams meet in the second preseason game. 

Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy are expected to split action while veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains back in the Bay Area. The 49ers still hope to be able to trade Garoppolo before the start of the regular season.

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