It was a gruesome looking injury for Trey Lance after absorbing the hit from Seattle defenders Cody Barton and Bryan Mone on Sunday.
The right foot of the San Francisco quarterback (QB) was turned outward in a way a foot should not be turned.
Before you knew it, Lance was on a medical cart wearing an air cast surrounded by players from both teams in a show of solidarity when injuries are serious.
What happens next for Trey Lance?
Trey Lance has a message for the fans following his successful surgery ❤️💛 pic.twitter.com/fQ4P55prn1
— KNBR (@KNBR) September 19, 2022
Outside of the obvious answers of surgery and rebab, there is a lot of uncertainty.
Things change in the NFL from season-to-season, and two full-seasons scarred by injuries and sub-par play by Lance makes for a cloudy future.
I circle back to Robert Griffin III (RGIII) in Washington. Current 49ers’ Head Coach Kyle Shanahan was the Offensive Coordinator in Washington at the time under his dad, Mike Shanahan. RGIII suffered a devastating knee injury ironically also against Seattle.
RGIII was never the same. His comeback failed in Washington and then he ended up as a backup in Baltimore, before being out of the league.
The swag that made RGIII great, was gone, and his eyes looked different.
The playmaking wheels he once had to run around and make defenses adjust to him were no longer there, and that was his game.
RGIII was never a pure pocket passer anymore than Lance was. Lance loved run, and that was a big part of his game too.
Of course, on the flip side Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott successfully returned after breaking his ankle.
So there is hope for Lance fans.
How will this injury affect Trey Lance mentally?
That is the million dollar question.
That is what this really will come down too.
Physically players recover. However, how this injury affects Lance mentally will determine if he is able to successfully make a comeback or not.
This is especially true for a player like Lance, who like I mentioned, likes to run around a lot.
Will Lance be thinking about his still recovering ankle when he drops back to throw, or will he be thinking about his reads?
The Jimmy G. factor
After an off-season of being mistreated by the organization, media and fans alike, Jimmy Garoppolo is back in the driver’s seat as San Francisco’s QB1.
At one point, the organization humiliated Garoppolo by listing him as QB4 on their team’s depth chart. During training camp, they made him stand away from the team and throw.
The word on the man affectionately known as “Jimmy G” was even though he was one of the few QB’s with a winning percentage of over 70%, he couldn’t win the big one.
Garoppolo took San Francisco to the Super Bowl, but lost in 2019. He then took them back to the NFC Championship last season, but lost to the Rams.
Now Garoppolo has this thing right where he wants it, and much of Lance’s comeback in San Francisco will be determined by Jimmy G’s right arm.
If he leads this loaded roster to a Super Bowl victory, the 49ers will be all but forced to swallow their pride and give him a monster deal, as he is scheduled to hit free agency in 2023.
However, if he lays an egg and confirms why the 49ers drafted his replacement, it will maybe lay the path to Lance becoming QB1 in San Francisco again.
The Will Levis factor
There is a wildcard in all of this and that wildcard is University of Kentucky QB Will Levis.
This past off-season Kentucky hired away the 49ers’ QB’s Coach, Rich Scangarello as their Offensive Coordinator.
The NFL is a who knows who business, and this situation is one that should be monitored closely.
Levis, who is a senior, fits Shanahan’s system.
There is also the possible endorsement deal with Levi Strauss & Co., the company that owns the 49ers’ stadium naming rights.
Don’t forget about Brock Purdy
Incoming Iowa State rookie QB Brock Purdy is yet another consideration into Lance’s comeback path after an impressive summer.
According to a tweet from 49ers’ beat writer David Lombardi at The Athletic, Purdy completed 69.3% of his training camp passes versus Lance, who completed 54.7%.
Purdy, now the No. 2 in San Francisco, completed 30/49 for 346 yards, with one touchdown and one interception (80.8 passer rating) in three pre-season games.
Lance’s path back to QB1 in San Francisco is anything but a straight-line.
Follow me as a former NFL Scout on Twitter @danielkellybook and follow us @GridironHeroics for more great content. To read more great articles and keep up to date on the latest NFL news click here. To learn more about my NFL background, click here.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE