During this year’s preseason, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that the team would use Jimmy Garoppolo and No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance in a two-quarterback system. But so far through three weeks, the game plan has leaned heavily towards the incumbent starter.
Garoppolo has taken the vast majority of snaps with Lance coming in every once and a while for specific play scenarios (seven total snaps).
While this may seem like a stray from the original plan, Shanahan said his initial thoughts on the team’s QB situation were misinterpreted.
“Trey’s our backup quarterback,” Shanahan told reporters. “This isn’t the preseason. We’re not just going back and forth all the time. Trey goes in for specific plays or things we want to do. Trey week in and week out, he gets better each week the more reps he gets on scout team. But there’s not a big decision going into that each week. We put in a game plan for our starting quarterback, the backup needs to be able to do all of that if he gets hurt. And what’s cool about Trey is because of his different skillset we always keep him alive with a couple of plays on situations.”
When asked by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn why he changed his mind from the original two-quarterback scheme, Shanahan denied any change in plans.
“I didn’t change my mind,” he said. “We have put him on the field. We do it in situations. You can go with whatever you want what I say in training camp. You can expand on that or not, but I think I was asked coming off the field of our third preseason game if we would see this in the regular season, I said probably not. So I think a lot of words have been put in my mouth with some of that stuff, or exaggerated pretty big. I pretty much keep it pretty real with everyone, but I don’t just tell everyone the answer. I have no problem with you guys overdoing that and Detroit working on that extremely hard. But I’ve been pretty consistent with what I’ve said.”
The 49ers practiced the two-quarterback system daily in training camp and utilized it throughout their preseason schedule.
When asked why he put so much emphasis on it earlier this year just to ditch it in the regular season, Shanahan shrugged it off as some preseason fun.
“It was preseason. It was fun to do,” he said. “But it has to do with the team we’re playing the next week. It doesn’t have to do with reactions. It has do with how we prepare for people.”
While it may look slightly different than originally expected, Shanahan’s model is working well so far. Through three weeks, the 49ers are one narrow loss to the Green Bay Packers away from a 3-0 start.
Looking to continue this success with Garoppolo at the helm into Week 4, San Francisco will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in a tough divisional matchup on Sunday.