Trey Lance got the go-head from the 49ers to start in the team’s preseason opener against the Raiders on Sunday.
Lance’s performance may lead to the starting spot come Sept. 10 against the Steelers, and if so, he and the team hope it will be a better start than last year, in which he suffered an ankle injury after the second game of the 2022 season that kept him on the bench of the rest of it.
Lance was picked over Sam Darnold, who signed with San Francisco in the offseason after playing for the Panthers the previous two seasons and the Jets for the remainder of his five-year career.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that the plan for the exhibition game is to play Lance for the majority of the first half and subbing in Darnold for the second half, while sharing some time with fourth-string quarterback Brandon Allen.
The third-year quarterback has started two games in his young career, throwing for 797 passing yards for five touchdowns and three interceptions along with 235 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Lance isn’t likely to take the starting job from second-year QB Brock Purdy, who is coming back from an elbow injury suffered in last season’s NFC championship game against the Eagles.
However, Purdy’s start in a scrimmage against the Raiders on Friday was more sour than sweet, going 15-of-26 in 11-on-11 play with an interception.
Purdy has been involved in full practice over the summer after his elbow surgery and perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams doesn’t seem worried after Purdy’s outing.
“I have faith in Brock,” Williams, said, via NBC Sports. “It’s preseason. The guy just got back from a six-month rehab. I’m definitely not putting much into a practice rep or a practice interception.”
The 49ers are after at least a Super Bowl appearance this season after losing in the NFC championship game two years in a row.
The team has not seen the pinnacle game since 2019 when they lost to Chiefs 31-20.