QB Trey Lance Press Conference
QB Trey Lance
Press Conference – May 23, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
In March, both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan said that QB Brock Purdy is the leader in the clubhouse as far as being the starter when he’s healthy. When they had those conversations with you about where things stood currently, how did you take it and what’s your approach to the offseason been?
“Nothing’s changed for me. I’ve been able to focus on a lot more things that are going to help me I’d say this offseason versus just focusing on trying to get back to as healthy as I could last offseason. As far as the stuff with Brock, that’s same thing I told you guys last year at the end of the year, my opportunity is just to come in and compete and that’s all I wanted. I don’t want to take anything away from Brock and no one should be able to take anything away from Brock. He did what he did last year and he deserves all the credit in the world for it. I just want an opportunity to compete.”
What’s been your focus specifically on becoming a better quarterback right now?
“Everything. Right now, in OTAs just being efficient and learning the offense and continuing to learn and grow as the best quarterback I can be.”
The finger injury that you had to kind of re-learn a motion to make it work with the injury and then kind of unlearn all that. Can you just kind of explain to us how that has impacted your development here over the last couple years trying to deal with all that?
“Yeah, my rookie year was a lot. It was definitely the hardest on it because I couldn’t straighten it. It was my pointer finger and I couldn’t straighten it after that third preseason game when it happened, but coming through my rookie year and finishing that, my goal that offseason was to get as healthy as possible. First and foremost, just to be able to get my finger as straight as I can and I felt like I got close to that point, but spent a lot more time rehabbing that and trying to figure that out and relearn my grip and throwing everything like that than I did versus this offseason, being able to focus on the things that I need to focus on.”
Was there a trickledown effect from that where it affects other parts of your body that may not be as connected?
“Yeah, for sure with anything. Wrist, hand, arm, shoulder, it all kind of connects obviously. Yeah, it bugged a lot of other things and it was hard to find a way to throw finishing off my middle finger and changing my grip and things like that.”
What did you get out of training with Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Jeff Christensen this offseason?
“A lot. I learned a ton. I was able to focus on the right things. Just having a better idea, even better this year coming into year three of what is expected of me, how to run the offense, being able to watch [Las Vegas Raiders QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] and Brock play at such a high-level this year. Being able to be around Patrick was awesome. Just pick his brain, learning about just the type of guy he is, how he spends his free time, offseason and then more about his in-season schedule as well.
There was a report that your arm soreness has started to improve as well. Is that true? Are you not dealing with any arm fatigue, arm soreness since you worked with him?
“Yeah, hopefully we can finally kill that this year. I thought going back to my rookie year that it was on me. I didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of my body coming out of school early, started throwing, through that whole year, going into that one game, my last game in college and then didn’t really stop, went all the way through the fall, through the winter, through the spring, got drafted, kept throwing through OTAs, 40 days away, wanted to be as ready as I could, kept throwing the whole 40 days away and then going through the whole season, kept throwing again, so that’s just a lot of time. I don’t know any quarterbacks that would spend that much time throwing, but I wanted to work and I thought that was the best way to do it, but obviously I learned a lot from that. Going through my rookie year dealing with it last year, I thought it was in a great spot as well going into it, but yeah, no issues this year.”
When you were in your rookie year, specifically, going through all that offseason work into it, did you feel like, ‘Hey, the ball is not coming out the way I’m used to, the velocity was down,’ anything like that?
“Oh, no. My rookie year I felt really good until this happened. I think the biggest thing my rookie year was just learning. Being able to tie my feet to my arm and tie my feet to my brain and how we see concepts and everything like that. The offense is very specific as far as just tying your feet to your progressions and no offense, I don’t think any offense in the country in college is like that, so it was definitely a learning curve for me, but then obviously having to deal with this kind of took some time away from that and mentally as well.”
You talked about how teams have been interested. There’s been some interest in trading for you, they’ve had those discussions. At any point, did part of you think maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing?
“No, not at all. I knew where I wanted to be. I just want an opportunity to compete. I love it here. I love the coaching staff. I love working with [quarterbacks coach Brian] Griese and [assistant quarterbacks] Klay [Kubiak] and now [offensive passing game specialist] Klint [Kubiak] as well. Love the quarterback room, love the guys in the locker room. No doubt for me, this is absolutely where I want to be.”
When you first got here, Jimmy was a little bit older than you. Detroit Lions QB Nate Sudfeld was last year, but this year you guys are relatively the same age, the three of you with QB Sam Darnold. Is that different? What’s the vibe like when you’re all at different stages of your career, but generally the same age?
“Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s a whole lot different, but it’s definitely fun. I had met Sam pre-draft back going into my rookie year, so I got to spend some time with him. I knew he was a great dude, so I was super excited that he was the guy we were going to bring in. And then bringing in [QB] Brandon [Allen] these last couple of weeks as well has been awesome. Just guys I can continue to learn from, like Sam has played in a lot of different places, a lot of different systems, has seen a lot of ball, so for me it’s just picking his brain on little things. It’s been awesome. It’s a ton of fun in the quarterback room with now adding Klint Kubiak as well into the meeting room, so I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Can you talk about your ankle recovery and how you’re monitoring that now that you’re back on the field and kind of how you’ve regained confidence, really another important part of it?
“Yeah, it feels like it’s been a long process. I do want to say thank you to [physical therapist] Mike Sola especially he was the PT that I worked with throughout this whole time. We spent a lot of time together, a lot of time with him rubbing on my feet and ankles. So super thankful for that, for him and his willingness to take weekends, travel, whatever it was with me, but I feel like I’m in a really good spot. I honestly don’t even feel it or think about it. I’m sure there’ll be something as the season comes up, not anything bad or anything like that, but with something like that, there can be things that happen. Not missing time or anything, a little bit of soreness, so just continuing to work through it and learn as I go, figure out what works best.”
When during this offseason, did you feel 100% healthy, finger, ankle, everything? And how does that help you going into this season?
“Shoot, I don’t know exactly when. Probably towards the end of March, I would say is when I was 100%. And yeah, finger was probably a past thing throughout this whole rehab process for most of it. I felt like it got to that point. Pretty close to that point after my rookie year after that offseason, but yeah, it’s been an awesome offseason for me, just being able to spend time finally getting back to football, finally getting back to being around the guys now.”
Brock said that you helped him out quite a bit last year as he was playing. What kinds of dialogues did you guys have during those games? What kinds of things did you share with him that maybe helped him through some of those late season games?
“I tried to one, just be an ear for him. Just to listen to whatever he’s seeing and whatever he’s processing, how he’s seeing things and just educate as much as I could and help. And obviously, I haven’t played a ton of ball. He’s played more games than me now, but for me it was just like being a friend, honestly. A lot of it throughout ups and downs of plays and drives and things like that. I just wanted to be there for him, whatever he needed.”
Have you thought out your plan this summer, what you’re going to do when OTAs are over, where you’re going to train, that kind of stuff?
“Yeah, I’m pretty close. You probably saw everything about me going to Tight End U, so I’m excited for that. Finally making it this year. I couldn’t make it the last couple years, so I’m excited to go down there with those guys and hang out and throw some balls at [TE] George [Kittle] and those other guys, but yeah, I’m planning on working with the same people. Going down, just trying to lock in again and hopefully be even better when I come back to training camp.”
How much are you itching to get back into game action, whether it’s preseason, regular season, obviously you have to take it one day at a time, but just to prove yourself back on the field, 11-on-11?
“Yeah, I’m really just trying to be where my feet are. Trying to live in this moment and be as present as I possibly can. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been awesome. It’s been really, I was just talking to [LB] Curtis Robinson a about it. I really feel like I’m having fun playing football again. It’s hard those first years, my first year and especially and then last year, I thought I’d be able to get close to that point of not having to be so stressed and worried and have a better understanding of offense and defense and I finally feel like I’m able to just have fun and enjoy it again. Obviously, there’s ups and downs and there is stress and anxiety that comes with playing the position and playing football, but this is the best I’ve felt for sure.”
Some veterans come to OTAs and do just a little bit and take their own pace and some don’t come at all and it’s voluntary, but seems like RB Christian McCaffrey sets a pretty torrid pace out there. And I’m just curious as to when a veteran comes like that, one of your best guys, and he’s out there, even at the end without helmets on, but he’s out there going like it’s a hundred miles an hour. What does that do for everybody else?
“Yeah, he sets the standard. He’s quickly grown into a great leader in our locker room, and I think a lot of guys had a feeling that that would happen pretty quickly just based on who he is. And after meeting him, how he carries himself. Just a very impressive human being. Some people call him like a little [DL Nick] Bosa, just the way he’s just so meticulous with his routine and how he takes care of his body. And I’ve learned a ton from him, not only football, but being able to talk ball with him is awesome just because he’s seen so many different offenses, defenses and looks. Just being able to be around him as far as his routine and how meticulous he is.”
You’ve been through a lot in your young career and you talked a little about the stress and anxiety of the position, but you’ve dealt with a lot of ups and downs. What do you do to take care of your mental and emotional state?
“I do a lot. Thankfully, I am really close with my family. Me and my little brother, my parents, I meet with people to help me set my mindset for the day pretty regularly. I’s just being able to find ways to live in the moment I think is one big thing that I’ve focused on this year as well as just realizing how blessed I am to be in this position. I say it every single day, like I play in the NFL. Hopefully, obviously the plan is for me to get on the field this year and really get this thing started, but gratitude is kind of what I bring everything back to, just kind of bringing everything back into perspective.”
Are you talking about a sports psychologist?
“Something like that, yeah.”
Provided by the team or did you find them?
“A little bit of both. Yeah, it wasn’t provided by the team, but someone that someone knew through the team. It wasn’t like a you need to go meet with someone, you’re sad, anything like that. No, I feel like I’m pretty positive, but it’s helped me out a lot and I’m just super thankful to be here.”