In a sports context, the situation was not unfair
The responses to the recent Lance news by some in Bay Area and national media could best be described as unhinged. Grant Cohn is teetering on the brink of psychosis. Nick Wright called Trey Lance’s three years of development with the Niners “the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever seen in pro sports”. RG3 said the only reason Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch still have jobs is because Brock Purdy bailed them out last year. This is truly insane stuff.
They think Trey Lance got the short end of the stick the first few years of his career? LOL. Let me tell you about Sam Darnold’s first three years. He got drafted by the New York Jets. Season 1, he had Todd Bowles as head coach and Jeremy Bates as offensive coordinator. Seasons 2 and 3 it was Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains. The Patriots decided to let Mac Jones enter his second season without an actual offensive coordinator on the roster! He’s got a bottom 10 collection of pass catchers in the league. Trey Lance had Kyle freaking Shanahan and maybe the most talented roster in the league. Lance had plenty of chances, he was just not good and/or not healthy.
Before the 2021 NFL Draft, there were rumors that the 49ers were going to draft Mac Jones with that 3rd pick instead of Trey Lance. Many of the same national media and Bay Area media/Twitter personalities that reacted viscerally to the Lance news this week also went apoplectic at the Mac Jones rumors in 2021. I think part of this reaction is that *some* of these people don’t want their starting QB to look like Mac Jones, Brock Purdy (Midwest Mac Jones), or Sam Darnold (west coast Mac Jones). Not in 2023. I mean those dudes are probably MAGA for Christ sakes.
“You witness fans grousing about a young player’s lack of PT while, behind the scenes, everyone knows he’s a drunk, or a flake, or just generally unmotivated. Nobody can say it publicly, but back at the event level, everyone is operating under the hidden knowledge.”
And this is why the beat writer can disappear and no one will care. Reporters that don’t report. An incoherent job.
Ethan, great article but why intentionally overlook the racially charged perspective of the fans and media blasting this Trey Lance trade?
I mean it was obviously present even before they drafted him. As others noted, the thought of using that pick on a SEC QB that had a won the National title had them ready to riot. While they were titillating at a thought of drafting a D-II QB they never heard of because….?🤷🏻♂️ This was in the haze of George Floyd when race was a major factor and it’s still a factor now.
Your friend Bomani Jones was very open about inciting these race-based narratives around Lance. The one that really takes the cake was when he guest hosted on Hang Up and Listen while promoting his show in January. It was the Monday following the 49ers domination of the Seahawks in a playoff game where Purdy threw 300+ yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs. Looking like a serious Super Bowl threat, Bomani played out a hypothetical where the 49ers won the Super Bowl with Purdy but stated the team SHOULD still make Trey Lance the starting QB the following year — asserting if Purdy could do it then Lance could do it. Extending the hypothetical he said, “but they wouldn’t because Trey Lance is black!”. It was a take so unhinged it seemed to have stunned Josh. What we are seeing here is the same type of mentality. The narrative has been this is a failure of GM and Coach for not giving Lance a fair shot with the undertone being because he’s black (at least Jones is open about it).
For a hypothetical or my own, If the 49ers had drafted Mac Jones and the same circumstances played out, how do you think these same people would be responding? I am skeptical it’s the young blogger vs. the seasoned reporter divide that’s driving these reactions, as many here are not fully buying it.
Yeah it’s Trey lances fault for not performing and not being that good, but the clear fault is the niners for making a dumb pick in the moment. If you watched college football you’d know Lance was just gonna be Mitch trubisky, and that being generous (trubisky isn’t as big a bust as he’s made out to be, it’s more they took him over Watson and mahomes, which again literally just watch college football and you’d know that was an insane pick). It was a bad evaluation and complete overpay
The hystetics on twitter from HoS guests like Andy Liu and Grant Cohn have been unhinged and completely irrational.
The idea that they are being unfair to him is pretty bizarre. They've seen him in practice and he hasn't been good. If your take is Shanahan is just an idiot and doesn't know what he's seeing then...ok I guess. But that's also a weird take
Black quarterbacks cannot fail. They can only be failed.
The 49er bloggers/youtubers are an embarrassment. It was obvious from his first game that Lance doesnt have elite speed.
I have been grateful the niners acknowledged it quickly and moved on
Yeah I mean the only problem is, Lance had only started 17 college games, had played only one game in the year before the draft. Yes he was FCS champion and undefeated...but it was FCS. I think that the 49ers probably gave him the opportunities to the extent possible, but the fact is, trading up that much for him was extremely questionable to begin with, and not only in hindsight, I remember criticism on this point at the time. They succumbed to the hype.
We get to see this play out in literally 15 minutes as I write this with Liam Lawson in F1. If we think NFL is cutthroat, F1 is even more so. This probably will be his one shot.
There are 32 NFL teams.
There are at any given time, 5-7 excellent quarterbacks that are part of a group of 20 adequate throwers. A third of the league doesn't really have a QB.
So the math of the situation suggests that you always roll the dice to get another one because no one knows anything about talent evaluation. Coming from a Packer fan.
1. Unless Trey becomes pro bowler, the Worst niners trade remains Haley to cowboys. Gave their arch rival the missing price for their dynasty
2. After watching the qb show, I have had to accept the niners would have multiple chips if Kyle/john had just stuck to the plan and signed cousins.
Point is same like Wiseman. Don’t draft him. You know you won’t be able to develop him. If you think you can and don’t, it is your fault. It was a bad bet from the beginning with all the noise about Mac Jones, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, etc. Implusive trade that led to a risky pick. That was a bad plan not just bad development.
as others have said the niners should have never drafted him in the first place. kyle isn’t a qb whisperer of a coach and should have never taken a project qb that high with a super bowl ready roster (that’s beside giving up the picks). they deserve a ton of shit for doing that while also not getting stafford or brady. lance is probably cooked and won’t be a meaningful starter in the league, but would have been cool to see if mcvay or sean payton could get anything out of him
I think the biggest misconception I'm seeing in this situation is people saying the 49ers will be able to weather the loss of three first round picks that yielded absolutely nothing. The LA Rams went full-blown "fuck them picks" couple years ago, assembled a team good enough to win a Super Bowl, and only a year later the franchise was in complete shambles. Needs arise in football when you least expect them, and three wasted first round picks severely limits the 49ers ability to sustain this run.
Well argued by Ethan, but still feels like Lance didn't get enough of a chance, with the two injuries. 49ers knew about the lack of experience going in, with the lost 2020 covid season, and if they were in win-now mode why draft a project?