The San Francisco 49ers have not definitively named a starting quarterback for Sunday’s Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has taken most of the snaps with the first-team offense during training camp, and he led the team out during the preseason. But the 49ers also gave rookie—and third overall pick—Trey Lance some work with the ones and even rotated him and Garoppolo during the preseason.
Week 1 is always tough to plan for your opponents with so many unknowns about each team. Not knowing who the starting quarterback is will be a unique challenge to first-year head coach of the Lions Dan Campbell.
“I think you’ve got to prepare for both,” Campbell said. “You have to assume that they may try to mix (Lance) in there and use him a little bit. We’ll make sure that we’ve taken care of some of that.”
Lance is a tough weapon to have to deal with not only because he’s a rookie with limited preseason and college tape (he started just 17 games with North Dakota State), but because his mobility gives the 49ers offense a different dimension to deal with. Campbell noted that they’ve already worked on stopping offenses like that in training camp.
“Our defense has seen it,” Campbell said. “But certainly you have to prepare for it. It’s something that that kid can do and does pretty well. He’s got good athletic ability, so you have to at least present it to your players.”
The Lions will not only have to deal with Lance but one of the more creative offensive minds in 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. This offense features plenty of misdirection, pre-snap motion, and fakes that will undoubtedly challenge Detroit’s young defense. The key, to Campbell, is for his players to stick to their own duties.
“Our guys, they’re going to have to be very disciplined with what their keys are and what we’re asking them to do,” Campbell said. “Because these guys will get on you. They will, and if you let them get some explosive runs on you, we’re going to be in trouble.”