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Trey Lance vying for 49ers backup spot, emerges from future franchise QB role

Trey Lance, the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, is facing competition from Sam Darnold for the No. 2 spot.

In Santa Clara, California, Trey Lance's journey from being hailed as the future franchise quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to now fighting to maintain his role as the backup quarterback has been a rollercoaster ride in just over two years. After a shaky start in the exhibition opener, it seems that Lance has some work to do to beat out Sam Darnold for the backup position behind Brock Purdy.

Despite the rough start, Coach Kyle Shanahan saw some encouraging signs in Lance's performance. He noted that Lance played better as the game progressed and made some good plays. However, Shanahan expressed frustration over not converting a short yardage situation and not being able to keep Lance on the field longer.

Looking at the box score, Lance's numbers were decent, completing 10 out of 15 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. However, there was a moment where Lance threw a pass that should have been intercepted but ended up being caught by Ross Dwelley due to Duke Shelley's bobble. Shanahan described it as a "scary" pass but appreciated Lance's willingness to take a chance and not be afraid to make plays.

Lance also had another potential interception dropped by a defender and struggled with holding onto the ball too long, resulting in four sacks. It didn't help that Lance was playing behind a second-string offensive line that had a tough time against the Raiders' defensive front. Pro Football Focus reported that Lance faced pressure on half of his drop-backs.

Despite the challenges, Lance expressed his excitement to be back on the field and compete in real football again. He acknowledged that there is room for improvement in execution and hopes to execute better in future drives.

One of the biggest hurdles for Lance is his lack of experience, having thrown fewer than 700 passes in high school, college, and the NFL combined. However, with a talented roster ready to compete for the Super Bowl, the 49ers are not inclined to be patient when it comes to the quarterback position.

Lance's journey has not gone as expected after the 49ers traded three first-round picks to draft him third overall in 2021. He started two games as a rookie but was hindered by his own finger injury. In the following season, Lance struggled in the season opener and then suffered a season-ending broken ankle in the next game.

By the time Lance returned to full health this offseason, he found himself surpassed by Purdy on the depth chart. Purdy had a successful run last season, winning his first seven starts and helping the 49ers reach the NFC title game before getting injured.

Now, Lance is competing with Darnold, another former third overall pick, for the backup quarterback position. Darnold looked impressive in the exhibition game, completing 5 out of 8 passes for 84 yards, including a deep throw to Ronnie Bell.

In other news, Purdy has been cleared to practice for three consecutive days for the first time since his elbow surgery. Shanahan is hopeful that LB Oren Burks and S George Odum will be ready for the season opener. Several players, including Dre Greenlaw, Drake Jackson, Elijah Mitchell, Danny Gray, Robert Beal, and Kalia Davis, are expected to return to practice this week. TE George Kittle is expected to be back next week after dealing with a hip injury.

Overall, Lance's journey to secure his role as the backup quarterback for the 49ers has been filled with ups and downs. With fierce competition and high expectations, Lance will need to continue working on his skills and gaining experience to prove himself in the NFL.

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