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Why won't Jeff Christensen tell us who connected him with Trey Lance?

Updated: May 31, 2023

There seems to be more to the story of how Trey Lance ended up working with quarterback coach Jeff Christensen.

Much has been made of all the work Trey Lance has put in retooling this throwing motion. Christensen himself gave a phone interview to Matt Barrows on the subject, spawning a thousand amateur quarterback coaches on Twitter who pounced on the few Lance throws caught on video from OTAs.

When Christensen was asked by Barrows how he was put in touch with his latest pupil, however, Christensen declined to answer. That seems odd. Why decline to answer? To me, the only reason not to answer a question is to protect confidentiality or to prevent someone from looking bad. Considering we already knew that Lance was working with Christensen and the coach granted Barrows the interview, I'd say confidentiality was out the window. Lance himself shared video from the workouts on his Instagram page.

While we can't know for sure, it would seem unlikely that the 49ers would ask Trey to work with Christensen. They usually prefer John Beck to work with their quarterbacks because he's extremely familiar with Kyle Shanahan's offensive system. Indeed, the team asked Lance to work with Beck specifically before the draft, despite the fact that Trey already had a relationship with another quarterback coach, Quincy Avery. Neither Kyle Shanahan nor John Lynch has ever mentioned Christensen in regards to Lance.

One more thing.

When the 49ers were clearing out their lockers on January 31st, Matt Barrows specifically asked Lance if he was going to work on his motion this offseason, and Trey said no. According to Barrows, Lance felt like he was, “in a really good spot” with his mechanics. Roughly three months later he was working with one of the premier personal quarterback coaches in the sport.

It wasn't the first time that Trey pushed back on the idea of changing his throwing motion. He has done so on multiple occasions in the past. So what changed?

One of the biggest reveals in Barrows' interview with Christensen was the fact that Lance couldn't go four straight days throwing a football because he would need 24 hours to rest and ice his arm after day three. According to Christensen, this was due to improper mechanics and was fixed after a four day diagnosis of Trey's throwing motion.

When Lance himself was asked about the arm fatigue this week, he gave a different answer.

"Hopefully we can finally kill that this year. I thought going back to my rookie year that it was on me. I didn't do a good enough job of taking care of my body coming out of school early, started throwing, through that whole year, going into that one game, my last game in college and then didn't really stop, went all the way through the fall, through the winter, through the spring, got drafted, kept throwing through OTAs, 40 days away, wanted to be as ready as I could, kept throwing the whole 40 days away and then going through the whole season, kept throwing again, so that's just a lot of time.
I don't know any quarterbacks that would spend that much time throwing, but I wanted to work and I thought that was the best way to do it, but obviously I learned a lot from that. Going through my rookie year dealing with it last year, I thought it was in a great spot as well going into it, but yeah, no issues this year.”

For the second time this offseason, Lance has attributed his arm fatigue issues with overuse rather than problems with his mechanics. ICYMI, the first time came in February during an interview with his previous QB coach, Quincy Avery.

Why does he continue to stick with that story, even after acknowledging earlier in the media session that he was working with Christensen? It seems very strange for someone that is never hesitant to give credit to people by name during his sessions with the media. Later in the presser Lance specifically thanked physical therapist Mike Sola for all the work he did during his ankle rehabilitation, but nary a word on his new quarterback coach that supposedly retooled his mechanics.

Does this mean something sinister is going on? Absolutely not. It could very well be a case of Lance changing his mind about what he wanted to do this offseason. I simply find everyone being so tight-lipped about the situation strange and wanted to bring it to your attention.

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