49ers coach Kyle Shanahan prepares for the second day of his sixth training camp with the team. The Tre Lance era began on July 28 after Shanahan announced, “We’ve moved on to Trey.” As a result, the core of the San Francisco team is a little different from last year’s team.
New quarterback, stronger corner set, maybe three new players on the offensive line, and the biggest question may be who will replace Jaquiski Tartt. However, the future is bright for the 49-year-olds, who can do some extraordinary things this year.
#1) How often will Shanahan run tree lances this season?
Shanahan reiterated that it’s Lance’s throwing abilities that can take this offense to the next level. Plus, his legs are a plus and can undoubtedly put defenses in trouble if they aren’t overly predictable.
“If number one is covered and there’s a lane wide open, and he doesn’t hesitate and hit him and move the chains, then I hope he does. There’s that element, and when you have that skill element of moving the ball with your feet that’s a great bonus, anytime something happens. What, you want him to do that?” Shanahan has got to make the right decision.
New to the league last season, Lance left defenses unbalanced when Lance rarely touched the field. Now, the defenses’ ears would peel off with the expectation of Lance doing a big job. Hopefully Lance has run a slither in QB now to avoid getting hit every time he runs the ball. Keeler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes all perfected it because of their baseball background.
I complained about Shanahan’s game plan in Lance’s first NFL start after he looked like a ram to hit. In fact, it could have boiled down to QB strength being the most comfortable for Lance. Around 70-80 would be a perfect lunge attempt for Lance’s first year as a rookie, but that could increase if he shows he can protect his body.
#2) Can the offensive line protect the Lance?
Training camp is essential for camaraderie and especially for the offensive line. The starting center battle will be one of the biggest battles throughout the camp. The internal offensive line struggled last year, which is expected to continue this year.
I agree with Akash that musical chairs could be the best solution for this offensive line. The competition will take out who wants it the most. Scroll protection is more than just blocking the person in front of you. The failure to connect before the hijacker was to blame for most of last year’s bags. There will always be plays where the defender wins this actor, but we want to keep Lance clean.
#3) Will DT be the most challenging position to cut back?
It will be difficult to reduce the defensive intervention group when it comes to final cuts. San Francisco’s defensive line has been deep for years, but it looks like there may be too many Tweeners this season. Drake Jackson may be Nick Bossa’s dashing sidekick, but the 21-year-old rookie needs to show up strong to make an immediate start.
Eric Armstead’s move indoors last season could prove pivotal to his career. Armstead showed prowess down the defensive line but playing DT helps Niner’s defense the most. Javon Kinlaw has recovered from reconstructive surgery on his right knee and is set to have his best season.
Signings with the three free agencies, Hassan Ridgway, Robert Nkimdic, and Keri Haider, intensified the rotation. Hyder has ultimate prowess, but I imagine him getting more inner cast.
Kevin Givens has seen the predicament on the inside of the 49ers defense line over the years, and this is no different. Givens is a running breaker who could win a place on 53 men if he could hold down QB.
We didn’t see what Maurice Hearst could bring to the negotiating table last year. Unfortunately, Hurst’s season ended before it even began as he tore his biceps last week while training. Hurst’s injury opens the door for a player who was in the bubble.
The defensive line could also have playoff champion Charles Ominiho inside when passing. Omenihu has taken Armstead’s place because he’s been out for a few weeks. Shanahan, Ryans and the front office are going to pull their teeth when it comes to final cuts with so many talents in the defensive line.
#4) Is a strong safety stance a concern?
I was in the middle of grumbling about strong cupboards before my wife’s waters broke to give birth to my third and last child. More important things came. However, the idea of quickly replacing Jaquiski Tartt baffles me.
Talanoa Hufanga has given some extraordinary plays in the past year, but his covering abilities worry me. Tarvarius Moore showed prowess before injury and could be a contender for a strong safety spot. DeMeco Ryans has shown that he’s comfortable running Cover 1 regardless of mileage and distance, and fortunately none of the candidates shy away from the running game.
#5) Will DeMeco Ryans be more aggressive on defense in 2022?
If Jason Ferrett’s health can hold up, the Ryans might have the best group of hits in San Francisco in the past 10 years. The nickel back corner position worried me at first, but if Ryan could find a willing striker with a man-covering ability, they’d be fine. Having higher quality corners allows Ryans to be more aggressive.
The defense relied on both types of safety to save the plays, but now I think it’s up to the knockout group to do the game-changing missions. The San Francisco defense is designed for a more grotesque and aggressive defense, while the Niners’ front seven will give QBs nightmares.
I hope I didn’t bother with any feathers because it feels great to have football back. No need to question my fan base; I think this team can move forward. However, there are things that need to be ironed out, which is exactly why camp and prep are incredibly beneficial.
Shanahan and Lance will be the bright lights throughout the season.