How long will the 49ers stick with the Trey Lance experiment?

Trey Lance vs Bears 2022

Kyle Shanahan is a brilliant play caller and play designer, but he like everyone else isn’t perfect as a head coach. His game management skills are weak, and his personnel decisions are open to debate as well.

That’s where Trey Lance comes in. Shanahan and the 49ers gave up the farm to trade up to draft him with three first round picks. Lance is a physical specimen, but he’s from a small college program and didn’t have a ton of reps in college.

Now we’ll see how this experiment works out. In the season opener against the Bears, Lance made some nice throws, but he was very inconsistent. Also, if you watch all of Lance’s snaps from the game, several troubling trends emerge.

First, the 49ers are basically running a college-style offense for Lance with a heavy dose of designed runs. Also, when Lance drops back and has to move off his first read, he quickly panics and tries to run the ball. This isn’t too bad for fantasy football, but in real football this leads to big problems.

Which leads to the other concern. Lance is a big guy, but he’s taking a beating. His risk of injury is very high with this playing style, and the 49ers don’t seem to care. That tells you they’ve already downgraded Lance’s value within the organization.

With Jimmy Garappolo on the roster as the backup QB, Shanahan has had to lobby team veterans to give Lance a chance to succeed. Let’s see how much patience those veterans have before we hear calls for Jimmy G.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Nathaniel Hackett gets paid millions for idiotic decisions

Nathaniel Hacket opening game NFL 2022

It’s amazing how many NFL coaches are simply clueless when it comes to game management.

Nathaniel Hackett may end up being a good NFL coach, but he completely blew it at the end of the Broncos game last night in Seattle. The Broncos paid Russell Wilson a king’s ransom to play quarterback, but Hackett decided to settle for a 64-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game instead of letting Russell try for more yards on fourth and five. There was plenty of time left and he had timeouts, but Hackett let the clock run down and then trotted out his kicker to attempt the long kick.

This is a recurring theme in the NFL. Some of these coaches just aren’t very bright. Others get lost in the weeds and then fail to see the big picture.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Josh Allen running too much for the Bills?

Josh Allen week one 2022 season vs Rams

In some ways this is a strange question to ask after the Buffalo Bills thumped the defending champion Los Angeles Rams last night to kick off the 2022 NFL season. But the question has to be asked.

Josh Allen has blossomed into a fantastic quarterback, and his ability to run the ball gives the Bills offense a tremendously effective weapon. But there’s a clear risk involved, and it’s clear that Allen is fearless at the moment, and that leads to some very bad habits and bad decisions.

Late in the game, Allen ran the ball and was hit very hard. There was no reason for him to run. The game was over. But he did it anyways.

Allen is a big guy, so perhaps he can take more of a beating than smaller players. That makes sense. But he’s not immune to injury because of his size, and one of the great advantages for quarterbacks in the modern NFL is that the rules will protect you, unless you decide to act like a running back.

We can go back 20 years for a comparison to Allen – Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper was a beast, and he led a similar, high-powered offense in Minnesota. And he loved to run the ball and run through defenders. And he suffered a serious ankle injury. He seemed indestructible like Allen, but he wasn’t.

It’s only one game, but the Bills look like they can live up to the offseason hype. And the addition of Von Miller to the defense seems like a stroke of genius. The Bills were slight favorites on the road last night against the Rams, and then ran away with the game in the second half.

Allen’s ability to run the ball can help lead the Bills to the Super Bowl, but he can also derail this season if he continues to be reckless.

Arizona Cardinals fumble the Kyler Murray contract extension

Kyler Murray contract press conference

What a mess.

We knew that the Deshaun Watson contract with the Browns would reset the quarterback market. In the new NFL, with all the rules protecting quarterbacks, it’s now a quarterback league. Some may argue it has been for a long time, but the trend has accelerated dramatically with the new rules. Barring some serious luck, you need an elite quarterback to win.

Combine that with the growing salary cap and you’re going to see more and more monster contracts for NFL quarterbacks. This provides massive leverage to players, and we’re going to start seeing more NBA-style holdouts and trade demands. Quarterbacks are the stars.

Read the rest of this entry »

Deshaun Watson contract with Browns resets the quarterback market

Deshaun Watson after Browns trade

The Deshaun Watson trade has rocked the NFL in many ways. After a grand jury in Texas decided against indicting Watson, the Browns won a bidding war to acquire the talented quarterback, and secured the deal with a fully-guaranteed contract for $230 million.

There was already plenty of controversy around any trade for Watson with 22 pending civil lawsuits, but the guaranteed money made the move even more controversial. NFL teams avoid large guarantees, and this contract blew away the guarantees given to other top quarterbacks. The fact that Watson, with all his legal troubles, was the recipient of this contract made it even worse for many. People will have different reactions to the Browns trading for someone saddled with these allegations, but the monetary award made it worse for many fans who felt that the Browns and the NFL were rewarding bad behavior.

But other NFL owners have also been complaining. They know that the Browns have turned the market upside down and that they will ultimately need to consider similar deals if they’re fortunate to land a top-tier quarterback. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was vocal in his displeasure, not that the Browns or their fans give a damn what the owner of the Ravens thinks about this. The Ravens will have to pay Lamar Jackson, and Browns fans will be happy to see that franchise also saddled with a monster, guaranteed contract, as most Browns fans see Jackson as a more limited quarterback than Watson.

And that leads us to the real issue here. The game in the NFL has been changing as the rules make it easier and easier for elite quarterbacks to dominate the game. Sure, defenses can still make a difference, but a team’s chances of winning a Super Bowl are very low without one of the 8 – 10 elite quarterbacks in the game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts