Martz: Lance a ‘long ways away' from starting compared to Purdy


Entering his third NFL season, quarterback Trey Lance hasn't had many opportunities to prove himself since the 49ers drafted him No. 3 overall in 2021.

But based on what Mike Martz has seen so far, the former 49ers offensive coordinator and Super Bowl-winning coach doesn't think Lance is San Francisco's answer under center -- yet.

"All those things that I was talking about with Brock [Purdy], you just don't see that with Trey Lance," Martz said in a video for The 33rd Team. "... He just looks out of place. Maybe over time he gets there, maybe that happens. But, boy, he's a long ways away right now.

"I think because he's got such a limited background you'd want to hang in there, because he didn't have a whole lot of college play time."

Lance started 17 games across three seasons at North Dakota State, thanks largely in part to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He has started four games in a 49ers uniform, the fourth of which was cut short in 2022 when he went down with a broken ankle.

In an accompanying article penned for The 33rd Team, Martz compared Lance to Purdy, who became San Francisco's starter in Week 13 after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. The rookie Purdy stepped in with the "composure of a 15-year veteran quarterback," Martz wrote.

"He was decisive, accurate and confident while leading the 49ers to nine straight victories last season," Martz said. "It’s striking how different Purdy is compared to the quarterback who entered the 2022 season atop the 49ers’ depth chart. Because you just don’t see those same qualities with Trey Lance."

Martz doesn't believe Lance is ready to start due to what he says is a habit of tracking receivers and an inability to get the ball out quickly to his target. In short, Martz doesn't believe Lance processes things quickly enough on the field.

"The speed of the game, handling information and retaining it, and then being able to apply it on the field instantly -- like Purdy does -- it’s just not there for Lance," Martz wrote. "It’s the hardest thing to do for a quarterback in the NFL. And then how calm is he under the gun? Some guys just aren’t able to do it, they buckle under pressure, even with good players around them.

"That’s what I see in Lance."

After Purdy underwent elbow surgery earlier in March, Lance comes into the 49ers' offseason program with a chance to prove himself. The addition of veteran signal-caller Sam Darnold might complicate things, however, but a healthy competition in camp could be exactly what Lance needs to re-establish himself as the team's starter.

RELATED: Former NDSU teammate Watson confident in Lance's NFL ability

And, in Martz's eyes, there's no ruling that out.

"I just think he needs to be in longer," Martz said. "I think it's unfair to him, at this point, to say that he can't play -- but he's a long ways away. ...

"If he stays [in San Francisco] or wherever he goes, he's got to up the ante a little bit in terms of, you've got to be more invested in trying to learn what's going on out here."

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us