Trey Lance

Why Orlovksy claims Trey Lance can't play in Shanahan's offense

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Trey Lance got off to a slow start in his first attempt to win the 49ers' backup quarterback job Sunday, and one NFL analyst believes the 23-year-old's performance against the Las Vegas Raiders did little to support his cause.

"I don't think Trey Lance can play in Kyle Shanahan's offense. I just -- I've seen enough," ESPN's Dan Orlovsky said Monday on "Get Up" of Lance's showing in San Francisco's 34-7 loss.

Behind a second-string offensive line, Lance got the start and finished the first half completing 10 of his 15 pass attempts for 112 yards and one touchdown pass with a 111.0 passer rating. The third-year quarterback was sacked four times but deflected any criticism of the O-line after the game by admitting he needs to get the ball out faster.

Lance took an average of 3.42 seconds per play to pass the football Sunday, and Orlovsky deducted from one preseason half that the former No. 3 overall draft pick doesn't have what it takes to succeed in Shanahan's system for a couple of reasons.

"One, [Lance] doesn't have enough reps playing football. That's a reality," Orlovsky said, then noted Lance's near-pick touchdown pass. "That ball is almost intercepted. It should go to the left because the guy's wide open. The ball doesn't come out quick enough for Trey right now, and I think that after watching yesterday, he's so much more comfortable as an under-center quarterback than a shotgun quarterback.

"But Kyle's offense has really become a shotgun offense. It's become ball distribution. It's become play point guard. It's become get it out quickly. And that's just not where Trey is right now. I want to be fair to Trey -- he got better as the game went on, and that's why those reps matter. I just don't think he can play in Kyle Shanahan's offense. He should have thrown two interceptions. The ball gets held so long for him right now, and it hasn't gotten better in the three years that he's been in the NFL."

While Lance and the 49ers' offense began the first quarter with a trio of consecutive three-and-outs, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear after the loss that he didn't place the blame solely on Lance.

"It got off to a rough start for everybody, three three-and-outs for the whole offense the first three times," Shanahan said. "I don't put that on Trey by any means. I thought the whole offense was sloppy to start."

Shanahan's offense is all about timing, as tight end George Kittle explained during the first week of 49ers training camp, making Lance's ability to get the ball out all the more important. And, like Orlovsky pointed out, Lance did improve as the first half moved along.

"More than anything, things were opening up, had a good feel for what they were doing, especially after these joint practices," Lance said after the game of what was different.

Shanahan also praised Sam Darnold, who is competing for the No. 2 spot alongside Lance, for managing the game with the same second- and third- string offense on the field. The 26-year-old has one thing Lance does not: plenty of NFL experience.

But both still have to prove themselves capable of flourishing in Shanahan's offense behind locked-in starter Brock Purdy -- and there's plenty of preseason opportunity left.

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