Yahoo Sports Senior NFL Writer Charles Robinson and Senior Writer Frank Schwab discuss San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance’s serious ankle injury that will keep him out the rest of the 2022 season, and debate if Jimmy Garoppolo gives the 49ers a better chance to be contenders this season.
FRANK SCHWAB: How far does this set Trey Lance's career back? I mean--
CHARLES ROBINSON: It's a big deal.
FRANK SCHWAB: No first year, a whole second year, I mean, other than a monsoon game last week. A whole second year is lost, and now, you get into year three, and we're going to know nothing about him, and who knows what Jimmy does the rest of the season, and who knows-- I mean, like, it took Dak really a year to kind of regain his form after his really bad leg injury. They didn't call a lot of runs for him his first year back. Are they going to have to do the same with Trey Lance? Are they going to even trust him to start? It just-- there's so many complicating factors here. I just feel terrible for the kid because he is an exciting player.
He's a fun player. I did think he was going to have a big season, and now it's all gone. And, you know, I mean, he's got to just feel like, wow, this was absolutely the worst thing that could have possibly happened for his career right now.
CHARLES ROBINSON: The thing is, he played one game in college in 2020, right? Then he played very sparingly in 2021, basically--
FRANK SCHWAB: Two starts.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --it was a-- two starts. Two starts, but it was a scratch season. Like we-- I think we can agree that they wanted him to win the job, he didn't win the job, and you have to feel like in terms of meaningful football, 2021, a lot of it was sitting and taking notes, and whatever, it just was not the meaningful football he wanted. Now in 2022, you're going another year with very little meaningful football, and an injury on top of that.
FRANK SCHWAB: And an injury, yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: And so, yeah, you have three years where he played--
FRANK SCHWAB: At least last year, he was practicing? I mean, like, he's--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, true. This is worse.
FRANK SCHWAB: I mean, you know how it is with injured guys. Injured guys are just out of sight, out of mind. You're not really involved with anything. You're kind of just-- you're floating. I mean, so he doesn't even get-- it's really-- this is true. Like last year wasn't a lost season. I think this year is just lost because like injury, all the rehab that goes with it. You kind of just get lost in the shuffle because hey, these guys got to move on with their season. If you think-- like you said, I mean, it's a great point.
Since beginning of COVID, this guy's played four football games, basically. You think about how long that's been. Like, I mean, it's been a long time since Trey Lance has played a lot of football. And we're going to come in next year, and have absolutely no idea what he is as a player, who he is, where he's going to be. It's sad. It really stinks for him.
CHARLES ROBINSON: We do not know at all what ultimately is going to happen with this guy. And I'll tell you, I wrote about him, and what I ended up writing was more from the vantage point of Jimmy Garoppolo, and we'll get to that in a second. But if I'm being brutally honest here, and I pulled back on this feeling because I immediately recognized how unfair it was. But if I'm being brutally honest about what I thought once I saw Jimmy step in and watch the remainder of that game, which by the way, the 49ers beat the Seahawks 27 to 7.
When I watched Jimmy in that game, I saw consistency, and I had a lingering feeling of-- I won't say lingering-- I had a creeping feeling of this team got better and it sucks. I don't mean that in like a callous, asshole kind of way. And I know it comes off that way.
What I mean, though, is from a consistency standpoint, from someone who we know has played a lot of high level football, been to a Super Bowl, been a team captain, been a player that has been paid, and veterans rally around, and, oh, by the way, the Super Bowl window that the 49ers clearly have with just some above average quarterback play in 2022, I felt like the 49ers got a little bit better with Jimmy Garoppolo stepping back in that role.
But the reason I pulled back on it was because it wasn't totally fair, wasn't totally fair to Trey Lance because the simple truth is Trey Lance didn't get enough of an opportunity to show us how much he could develop over the course of a season. And there is a chance that from September to January, he could have made big strides. That would have surprised us, made us realize this is why they drafted him, invested all this capital. He didn't get that opportunity.
So I don't know for sure that the 49ers necessarily became a wholesale better team just because they get some consistency back out of Jimmy Garoppolo.