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The 49ers can't get their Trey Lance story straight


A picture of Trey Lance in his road white jersey with his helmet off.
49ers (for now) quarterback Trey Lance

When it comes to the 49ers and Trey Lance, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.


When news of Sam Darnold winning the QB2 competition broke on Wednesday, the 49ers were caught off guard. There was no press conference, no official team statement, no tweet - nothing. Instead, Fred Warner and Javon Hargrave (who has been a 49er for all of 10 seconds) were left to twist in the wind as the first and only people the organization put in front of the media immediately following the story breaking.


Later in the day, Kyle Shanahan went on KNBR (for a paid interview) and explained why Lance wasn't at practice that day.

"Watching how Trey was when we talked, we just thought it was better, 'Hey, take the day off. Get away a little bit. Clear your head some and we'll talk later in the afternoon and we'll get you back in here tomorrow...Just felt it was the best thing for him."

On Thursday, John Lynch appeared on KNBR:

"They called Trey in. Never did we think all that would get out. Things don't stay quiet for long in today's world and the next thing you know everything that transpired yesterday transpired...Trey handled it well."

If Trey handled the news well, why would Shanahan say the day before that they excused him from practice and sent him home for the day after "watching how Trey was when we talked"? You can't handle the news well if the team watched your reaction and thought, "We'd better send this guy away today."


It also begs the question: If the 49ers excused Lance from practice, how did they not expect news of him becoming QB3 to go public? Did they think the 49ers press corps wouldn't notice he wasn't out there?


The difference illustrates a lack of communication in the 49ers front office. Clearly there was no effort to huddle up and get their story straight. Even if Kyle was unable or unwilling to do that, Lynch was hired to be the public face of the organization. He should have known what Shanahan had said the day before and made sure that his message was going to coincide with that in a way that held up to even the slightest scrutiny. Certainly publicly admitting the team was caught with their pants down couldn't have been the plan - if there ever was one.


Just an educated guess here, but I think the 49ers didn't expect Lance's side to leak the news of what happened. That's the only way they could have been shocked that people found out about it. I think they expected Trey to just nod his head and go back to work. If that's true, it's a gross miscalculation on their part.


Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are both represented by CAA. They share an agent. There were likely going to be repercussions no matter who won the QB2 job. Even if Lance was QB2, I'm sure the opposite situation would have happened. Sam Darnold didn't agree to a contract on the first day of the legal tampering period to be a third string quarterback. The fact that the 49ers either didn't understand that or didn't care about it shows a poor grasp of the situation.


It's not the first time Shanahan and Lynch haven't gotten their stories straight, and judging by history, it won't be the last.


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