Former NFL head coach Mike Martz didn’t hold back in giving his honest assessment of San Francisco 49ers second-year quarterback Trey Lance.
Lance started the 49ers’ Week 1 road game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. The North Dakota State product greatly struggled in the rainy conditions, completing less than half his pass attempts for 164 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.
Martz, the former St. Louis Rams head coach (2000 to ’05) and one-time San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator (in 2008) didn’t waste any time ripping Lance during an interview with The 33rd Team (transcriptions via TMZ Sports).
Here’s what Martz had to say on Lance’s sluggish performance:
“I want (49ers coaches’) eyeballs here. I’ve never seen anything about this kid that was encouraging at all…He looked like a fullback stumbling around, trying to run the ball to me…He’s not particularly a good guy running with the football — and based on what I saw today, I mean, he missed two guys completely by themselves…I know this, he can only go up. He can only get better because you can’t get any worse than what he did today.”
The 49ers traded up to select Lance with the third overall pick in 2021. Many thought Kyle Shanahan would want Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with that pick, but San Fran took a chance on the dual-threat Lance instead.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch was widely expected to trade Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason, but the club never found a deal for their liking. The 30-year-old Garoppolo agreed to come back on a restructured one-year deal.
Lance’s struggles in Week 1 have already let to some calls for the 49ers to go back to Garoppolo, who helped the team to a Super Bowl 54 appearance as well as a trip to the 2019 NFC Championship Game.
But Lance will start the team’s Week 2 home tilt against the Geno Smith-led Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off an upset against Russell Wilson’s Denver Broncos in Week 1.
The 49ers are a heavy favorite to defeat Seattle at home in Week 2. But if they lose, and/or if Lance struggles, Shanahan may ultimately feel inclined to start Garoppolo against Denver in Week 3. It’s up to Lance to silence the many haters in Sunday’s home opener.