Steve Young on Trey Lance/Jimmy Garoppolo situation: “This is hairy stuff”


Once upon a time, the 49ers transitioned from Joe Montana to Steve Young. It’s clunky, to say the least.

Now, the 49ers are in trouble again, with Jimmy Garoppolo returning from exile as the No. 2 quarterback on the team he’s led one Super Bowl and nearly another.

Cam Inman San Jose Mercury News Has spoken to Young about the current quarterback situation in San Francisco. He has a convincing opening line.

“I’ve prayed,” Young told Inman. “It’s great. It’s furry stuff.”

It really is. After the 49ers couldn’t find a replacement in the final year of Garoppolo’s contract, Garoppolo took more than $19 million in salary, which he won’t earn anyway, to get through the season as Trey Lance’s backup. As long as Lance stays healthy and doesn’t fail.

To be sure, this is a delicate situation. Garoppolo, who recently admitted that he doesn’t like to be irritated, apparently internalizes any discomfort he may feel. Last year, he must have felt it. He told Adam Shane in the offseason that Garoppolo didn’t know he wanted his experience in 2021 to be helpful to anyone.

“If Jimmy is an issue, that kind of speaks to the ability to do the job,” Young told Inman. “He didn’t seem to bother him, and I’d say, ‘Hallelujah,’ because if that’s the case, we’ve got a problem.”

But even without it bothering the Garoppolo, it could be a problem. The locker room loves him. If Lance falters, fans will fall in love with him again. That remains the biggest problem keeping Garoppolo around. This puts more pressure on Lance.

“That’s what I’m going to tell Trey,” Young told Inman. “It’s okay. Work is work. You have to do it. If you don’t, you have to pay.”

Yang emphasized his point in a more colorful way.

“This job, how can I put it, is like climbing Mount Everest,” Young told Inman. “It’s for specialist use only. “Oh, Sir Edmund Hillary was sitting in the tent with me. I still have to climb Mount Everest. It’s ok. ‘”

But it does matter because someone can decide to tell Sir Edmund Hillary to replace Lance.

“In some ways, Jimmy is there, and having your own feet on the fire, that can be productive,” Young told Inman, seemingly in an ongoing effort to describe the potentially leaking glass as half full. “It depends on how he takes it. He seems to take it productively and that can be considered a positive.”

Young doesn’t think anything that happens in the offseason will be good for Garoppolo.

“Something’s wrong,” Young told Inman. “He just had a referendum on him. Some things just didn’t resonate, perceptually or really. If I were Jimmy, I’d take this opportunity to change everything the narrative team had — words, whispers, scouting, etc. Wait – right now, it’s not good because no one wants him to start for them.”

To be fair, Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery and was out of the game while the team considered potential starters in 2022. By the time August rolls around, the team already has what they think is the best option. Garoppolo remains a fringe quarterback in the top 20. He’s good enough to start somewhere. That’s the point of Yang’s disappearance.

“If I were him, I couldn’t play the same music all the time and think I was getting a starting job somewhere,” Young told Inman. “It’s a period of time when he can start [to] Change [the] Narrative, whether it’s the first person to come in, the last person to go out, the memory, the possession of the data, the processing. Whatever is keeping him from getting a starting job, he needs to change. “

While Garoppolo has wisely started returning calls and texts, shoulder surgery remains the main reason for his current predicament. That said, if a team loses a starting quarterback, it will be very interesting whether the team calls the 49ers for a possible trade, or just chooses to make the bench No. 1 .

For now, the real question is whether Lance can be durable and successful enough to avoid having coach Kyle Shanahan put his hands in the air and put Garoppolo back in the lurch. Shanahan can insist that this is Lance’s team.

Maybe Shanahan will finally believe it. After Lance struggled in the preseason to show he was ready to get the job done, Garoppolo persevered while many others didn’t.

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