The Fall of Trey Lance and Rise of Tua Tagovailoa

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa & WR Tyreek Hill
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa & WR Tyreek Hill
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 2 - For three years, Trey Lance has been like a much-anticipated, production-delayed superhero movie. We kept seeing trailers through 2020, 2021, and 2022. But the release date kept getting pushed back.

Sunday was supposed to finally be Lance's true premiere. No more teasers or stealth-marketed, fans-only January screenings against the Houston Texans. No more that-doesn't-count-because-it-was pouring excuses for less-than-boffo opening week box office. Trey Lance, uncontested San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, would finally play a real game on Sunday in acceptable weather.

The Lance Show opened and closed after 15 plays. Lance was carted off the field in an air cast after a brutal hit on a keeper. His season, per Adam Schefter reports, is likely over.

Jimmy Garoppolo entered the game and did Jimmy Garoppolo stuff, game-managing the 49ers to a 27-7 over the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers are Garoppolo's team again, despite the fact that the organization left their former starting quarterback at the curb on trash day with a "Please Take Me" sign around his neck.

Garoppolo is as exciting as mashed turnips and communicates with Kyle Shanahan these days about as well as a troubled teen communicates with a deadbeat dad. But the 49ers have embarked on deep playoff runs under those exact circumstances in the past.

So the 49ers will be fine. Just fine. But their 2022 season was supposed to be about Lance, and therefore better than fine: excellent, exciting, future-focused without sacrificing anything in the present. Now, instead of watching the multitalented Lance come into his own with the help of a Super Bowl-caliber roster, the 49ers and their fans are once again stuck hoping they can generate enough YAC and sacks to squeeze into the playoffs while counting the costs of all they gave away for the mystery quarterback behind Door No. 2.

Lance, as you probably know by now, surrendered all but one game of his 2020 season at North Dakota State to COVID cancellations. The one game, a nigh-exhibition against Central Arkansas, had all the intensity of a spring scrimmage, and therefore zero scouting value. Lance threw just one collegiate pass prior to the 2019 season. He was phenomenal for the Bison in 2019, with 23 passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 10 rushing touchdowns, but of course he faced an FCS schedule.

Lance's 2021 playing time consisted of a pair of spot starts when Garoppolo was injured: a loss to the Cardinals in which he threw the ball rather poorly and a late-season victory over the woeful Texans where he was considerably sharper. Lance later stated that a finger injury limited him all of last year. Lance's 2022 preseason was a mixed bag; his season-opener was an upset loss to the Chicago Bears in a deluge.

So this is what the 49ers traded three first-round picks for, one of which might have been turned into a rookie—Ja'Marr Chase? Micah Parsons?—who could have helped them reach the Super Bowl in 2021: just 102 pass attempts scattered across two seasons, signifying nothing and leaving the 49ers right back where they started.

Injuries are unavoidable and unfortunate. But it feels like the 49ers courted this disaster by spending so lavishly on a prospect with so few accomplishments, then friend-zoning his mentor-turned-backup. There was always a higher-than-usual risk associated with Lance, despite the efforts of tape-grinding draftniks to assure everyone, based on old footage of a four-touchdown performance over Delaware, that Lance was guaranteed to be Better Josh Allen. If not for Sunday's catastrophe, Lance might well have succumbed to something more prosaic: smaller injuries, more "not quite, but..." games with more rationalizations than yards, a slow development cycle, an alternative still hanging around headquarters.

Those long-delayed superhero movies usually turn out to be franchise-killing flops. So do quarterbacks with nothing to show for their first two seasons but injuries and unfulfilled promises. Maybe things will turn out differently for Lance. But for now: farewell to the greatest quarterback that no one has ever seen. And the decision to trade up for him has the makings of a franchise-defining disaster for the 49ers.

Early Game Recap Extravaganza!

With the Philadelphia Eagles playing on Monday night, Walkthrough was able to watch ALL of the 1 p.m. kickoffs at our local tavern except one. We then scurried home to write up the most thorough and insightful recaps and analysis of the early action that you will find anywhere on the Interwebs!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, New Orleans Saints 10

What Happened: Tom Brady was unable to move the Buccaneers offense for most of the afternoon because:

  • Chris Godwin and Julio Jones were injured;
  • The Saints defense is pretty good; and
  • Brady's domestic situation is enough to make you stop to pick up a bouquet of flowers for your wife on the way home from the bar.

Brady did muster one bomb to Breshad Perriman. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston proved once again that he's a decent quarterback when not throwing interceptions, but that he also often throws three interceptions per game, one of them a pick-six in this case. It was Winston's 11th career three-plus-interception game, in 78 starts.

Also, a behind-the-strip-club-at-closing-time brawl broke out in the third quarter. Mike Evans and Marcus Lattimore were ejected, Evans for taking a cheap shot at Lattimore and Lattimore for receiving a cheap shot from Evans.

What it Means: It's hard to say, because Buccaneers-Saints games exist in their own pocket universe. The Buccaneers look vulnerable right now, but just about every other would-be contender in the NFC looks even more vulnerable.

What's Next: Packers at Buccaneers should help make some sense of the NFC, while Saints at Panthers should be a walk. Also, Evans may get suspended for being the third man in and escalating the brawl.

Miami Dolphins 42, Baltimore Ravens 38

What Happened: The Ravens led 35-13 through three quarters thanks to big plays on offense (Lamar Jackson looked great early), defense (two interceptions by Marcus Williams), and special teams (a game-opening kickoff return touchdown by Devin Duvernay).

Then came … Tua Time? No, Tyreek Time. No, let's call it Tua-to-Tyreek time.

Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill connected on two long touchdowns, with Hill so open on the second one that the replay comes with an agoraphobia trigger warning. Hill added two more catches for 30 yards on the Dolphins drive that ended with Jaylen Waddle's game-winning touchdown.

The Ravens, meanwhile, failed on two critical fourth-and-short sneaks: one at the goal line early in the game and one when trying to run the clock out midway through the fourth quarter.

What It Means: This was a proof-of-concept win for the Tua-Tyreek Experience. Tagovailoa can underthrow Hill deep by 2 yards if Hill is open by 5. Opponents who focus on Hill are susceptible to Waddle. Opponents who play two deep safeties for four quarters are vulnerable to RPO stuff underneath. And NO LEAD IS SAFE.

The Dolphins aren't Super Bowl contenders just yet, but they're ability to generate splash plays places them well ahead of numerous other middleweights (Steelers, Patriots, Colts, Browns, even the Bengals) through two weeks.

The Ravens played about 52 minutes of very good football and eight minutes of horrendous football. Maybe their collapse can be chalked up to defensive miscommunications and execution lapses, but the reasons/explanations/excuses won't matter if they keep finding ways to lose games when everything is going their way.

What Happens Next: Get ready for the most exciting Dolphins-Bills game since Dan Marino-versus-Jim Kelly! But fans in some media markets will instead be subjected to Ravens at Patriots. (Just kidding! That's a decent game!)

Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Indianapolis Colts 0

What Happened: Playing without the somehow-irreplaceable Michael Pittman, Matt Ryan was left with no choice but to mix interceptions (three) with three-and-outs (three straight in the first half), sprinkling in five sacks and lots of pressures, as the Colts fell to 0-1-1 against their "gimme" opponents.

What It Means: Matt Ryan is washed. Washed like an infant with a 24-hour stomach bug. Washed like the vintage jeans you bought in a thrift store beneath a freeway overpass. Washed like your hands after eating a 20-piece order of wings. Washed slightly more than he was washed in 2021, which was slightly more than he was washed in 2020, when he could at least rack up bulk stats in the fourth quarters of losses. He's also cooked, but we've got a long year ahead and Walkthrough cannot burn all of our material now.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, bounced back from a sloppy loss to the Commanders by playing their best all-three-phases game since they smoked Tom Brady and the Patriots early in the 2019 season. Trevor Lawrence (25-of-30, 235 yards, two touchdowns) enjoyed his best NFL game thus far.

What's Next: The Colts face the Chiefs, who are coming off a mini-bye. So, 0-2-1 it shall be. The Jaguars travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in a game that promises to be as well-attended as South Alabama at UCLA on Saturday.

New England Patriots 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 14

What Happened: The team that cannot score because its offense is coached by feral meerkats traded punts, interceptions, and blunders with the team that cannot score because of Mitch Trubisky and the Five Traffic Cones offensive line. But Team Feral Meerkat Coaches pulled it out thanks to one Mac Jones-to-Nelson Agholor 44-yard bomb and one touchdown after a muffed punt.

What It Means: Nothing. These teams are only quasi-relevant because they are legacy contenders with huge fan bases.

What's Next: The Patriots will hope 10-yard scoring drives are enough against the Ravens next week. The Steelers will broadcast a team of doctors studying T.J. Watt's shoulder MRIs for three-and-a-half hours as an alternative to forcing fans to watch them face the Browns.

Detroit Lions 36, Washington Commanders 27

What Happened: For the second straight week, the Lions stormed onto the field as if Dan Campbell had just taken a flamethrower to the locker room. The Commanders, meanwhile, mustered just two first-half first downs, the first coming after they trailed 22-0. Carson Wentz was sacked four times in the first half, once for a safety, but he threw three second-half touchdowns in his continuing effort to get inducted into the Box Score Scouting Hall of Fame.

What it Means: In an NFC where even the (gulp) Giants can entertain non-ridiculous playoff hopes, both the Lions and Commanders bear watching. Both are high-volatility teams, the Lions because of their running game and Campbell vibes; Washington because of their offensive playmakers and Wentz mood swings. Either team is capable of clawing its way to 9-8-1, though the Lions get to do so as the NFL's most lovable try-hards while the Commanders cope with weekly pyschodramas like…

What's Next: The Eagles visit their old pal Commander Carson and His Lost Planet Airmen. Expect a sizable caravan to make the trip down I-95 from Philly. The Lions, meanwhile, visit the Vikings. Do Lions fans travel for road games? Who knows?

New York Giants 19, Carolina Panthers 16

What Happened: Ten punts. Seven field goals. Five sacks. No passing plays over 30 yards. The Panthers spotted the Giants two early fumbles, the Giants capitalized with six points, Graham Gano nailed a 56-yard game-winning field goal, the Giants climbed to 2-0, and no one who watched this game will get those three hours of their life back.

What it Means: To briefly illustrate what it looks like when two bad teams are going in totally different directions:

  • The Giants converted third-and-1 twice on their game-winning field goal drive, then converted third-and-6 with a Daniel Jones option to run out the clock, all signs that they were executing properly and playing relatively sound situational football.
  • Earlier in the game, Baker Mayfield somehow managed to overthrow a short rollout pass to DJ Moore on third-and-short, then rookie tackle Ikem Ekwonu jumped offsides when Mayfield tried to draw the Giants offsides on fourth-and-short. The sequence forced a punt and illustrated what happens when a team goofs around with a fake quarterback controversy (and also a left tackle controversy) all summer instead of practicing sound situational football.

The Giants will still get blown away when they face decent teams. But at least they will look like they know what they are doing in the process.

What's Next: The Giants could be 3-0 once the Cowboys' Cooper Rush wears off. (Yes, Imma beat that pun into topsoil). The Matt Rhule Firing Watch will be upgraded to a Matt Rhule Firing Warning against the Saints.

New York Jets 31, Cleveland Browns 30

What Happened. Walkthrough does not know. We didn't watch this one. But Joe Flacco threw four touchdown passes!

What it Means: The Browns need to go 3-1 against their relatively squishy early schedule if they hope to stay on pace to remain playoff-relevant by the time the scuzzwaffle comes off his suspension. So far they are 1-1 and playing down to their competition.

Meanwhile, Robert Saleh gets to say I-told-you-so to all those awful reporters who hurt the Jets' feelings in Week 1. Someday, we need Saleh and Baker Mayfield on the same team: they might go 9-8 on the field but 2-15 against the press pool.

What's Next: The Browns host the Steelers, while Zach Wilson should return as the Jets host the Bengals. If Wilson somehow manages to get embroiled in a quarterback controversy with Flacco, well … Saleh may want to tear out the radio in his car.

Week 2 Awards!

Time to hand out some hardware.

Offensive Line of the Week

The Detroit Lions racked up 191 rushing yards and 36 points, dominating the line of scrimmage for much of the game against the Washington Commanders despite missing all three of their regular interior line starters. So let's hear it for Taylor Decker, Dan Skipper (replacing Jonah Jackson), Evan Brown (replacing Frank Ragnow), Logan Sternberg (replacing Big V.; if he's not playing I'm not obligated to spell his name) and Penei Sewell!

Defender of the Week

More Lions love: second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson recorded three sacks, all of them in the first half. Hutchinson suffered a leg injury in the second half, but it is not considered serious.

Special Teamer of the Week

Patriots undrafted rookie Brendan Schooler beats out a crowded field (Devin Duvernay, Graham Gano, Troy Andersen/Lorenzo Carter) for this week's award by recovering a muffed punt by former Patriots undrafted rookie Gunner Olszewski, setting up what somehow turned out to be a game-winning touchdown. And thusly is the circle of Patriots fan favoritism completed.

Honorable mention goes to Detroit Lions kicker Austin Seibert, not for his two field goals, but for three high-hangtime kickoffs that Dax Milne of the Commanders could only return to the 16-, 16-, and 17-yard line. Field position still matters! And the Lions nearly swept the Walkthrough Awards Triple Crown!

Burn This Play!

The Andrew Beck fullback triple option sweep on third-and-1 needs no introduction nor elaboration:

Folks … are we sure Nathaniel Hackett has any marketable skills besides saying "Yes Aaron, you are totally right, Aaron" in a quarterback room?

Burn This Clock Management!

The Commanders drove to the 13-yard line late in the fourth quarter trailing 36-21. Remember: that's a two-score game. They possessed all three timeouts with 3:45 to play when Carson Wentz completed a short pass inbounds to set up third-and-4 from the 7-yard line. Wentz then scrambled for a first down at the 2-yard line with 3:08 to play. The next snap occurred at 2:31: Antonio Gibson for a gain of 1. The Commanders then went no-huddle and got a snap off at 2:04: Gibson for no gain.

That's right: the Commanders took one minute and 45 seconds to go from the 13-yard line to the 1yard line on four plays, wasting the two-minute warning in the process. They finally scored a touchdown on the next play but missed the extra point, essentially ending the game. But had they gone even slightly up-tempo at the goal line, they could have preserved the two-minute warning as an extra timeout, plus perhaps a regular timeout, had they gotten the ball back with time to operate in a one-score game.

Of course, when you don't trust your quarterback's decision-making at all…

Rando of the Week

Breshad Perriman started his NFL career as the 26th overall pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2015 draft. Like all Ravens first-round wide receivers, he missed his rookie season to injury, then struggled to stay on the field and productive for two more seasons. He spent 10 offseason minutes in Washington, stumbled into the Hue Jackson-Freddie Kitchen Browns experience for a year, and wandered down to Tampa Bay, where he parlayed a hot December in 2019 into a one-year, $8-million contract with the Jets. Perriman earned $267,000 per reception for the Jets, speed-dated the Lions and Bears in the 2021 offseason, then plopped back in Tampa Bay as an emergency receiver. Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Mike Evans all being unavailable counts as an emergency, and Perriman came to the rescue with a 28-yard touchdown catch.

Perriman now has 136 career catches for 2,233 yards (16.4 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns. If all you need from your deep-threat wide receiver is two highlights spread across 17 games, Perriman is your man.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

While a brawl isn't technically a highlight, Bruce Arians gets this week's award for his Classy Fred Blassie impersonation while instigating from the side of the ring wrasslin' style.

By the way, if Walkthrough were Todd Bowles, we'd have a meeting first thing Monday morning about how "consultants" who used to be head coaches should not be doing any "consulting" on the sideline during a game, lest the real head coach feel a little undermined.

While Walkthrough is in curmudgeon mode: there should be an additional fine, and perhaps another 15-yard penalty, for players grandstanding on their way off the field after an ejection. Mike Evans strutted to the tunnel like a conquering hero, signing autographs and high-fiving fans after sucker-slamming Marcus Lattimore. You did something to potentially hurt your team, Mike: walk off the field without drawing extra attention to yourself.

But Walkthrough cannot hold a grudge too long, especially after Evans appeared after the game rocking a Phoenix Suns jersey and tinted sunglasses.

In summary: fine imposed for the grandstanding, but then nullified by the drip.

Comments

211 comments, Last at 20 Sep 2022, 8:32pm

2 Yes, that FB sweep was…

Yes, that FB sweep was exactly the play I had in mind for Burn that Play. What a lousy call at a key moment and what a terrible coach Hackett is turning out to be. If I'm a Broncos fan I can't wait for him to get fired.

12 4 RB interception

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I think that's saved for "burn this play" of the year. Just a weekly award is not enough. 

I get it, when your QB is Geno Smith, you want anyone else to throw the ball. But even though...

39 Fair

In reply to by luisguilherme

Pete might only wake up for revenge games

7 I’d have not minded a…

I’d have not minded a misdirection plunge with the FB while everyone else fakes outside. It’s not automatically bad to hand off to unexpected players. But they have to also be moving in unexpected directions…

27 The problem with that play's…

The problem with that play's the blocking: it wouldn't've mattered who was running with the ball. The right tackle gets so off balance that the defensive lineman's punch knocks him straight into the fullback's path, forcing the fullback to head backwards. So now there's no chance for him to get to the edge to read/pitch the unblocked guy. Everyone else's blocking sucked too, mind you, but his screwed up the play the most.

Honestly the "burn this play" bit here is running a play that depends crucially on the blocking of a journeyman tackle to whom you're paying veteran minimum wage. Maybe focus a bit more on relying on the guy making $35M/yr that you traded the house for? Just a thought?

Seems to be a recurring problem in Denver.

54 That may be one burnable…

That may be one burnable aspect of it, but asking a player who is slow as molasses to win the edge is another very burnable side to this play. The tackle would've had to hold his block for forever for the FB to have a chance.

164 Well, the point was to wait…

Well, the point was to wait until the free defender committed to the FB and pitch out to the running back. If the tackle hadn't lost like 2 yards immediately, it would've been a much shorter path and the RB pitch might have worked.

That's assuming the other 2 failed blocks don't happen, though. Plus the other burnable part is the left guard (I think) heading into the secondary. Like, it's a 3rd and short run. You don't burn a blocker thinking "what happens if everything goes perfect and we miss a touchdown because we don't have the deep safety blocked?!"

58 He was an OC for a team with…

He was an OC for a team with a good offence. (Having Aaron Rodgers at QB will do that). All coordinator hires are risky bc it's hard know how they transition.  Except in the rare case where a good coach gets fired by an owner with a quick trigger coach hires have a fair amount of risk as coordnators (and college guys) are unknowns and the good ones don't hit the market. 

Hackett does seem kinda over his head so far but he probably saved his job yesterday. 

109 Case in point.

And yes Jacksonville was good that one year. But 1/5 pre GB, with that 1 being mainly supported by the defense? Im unsurprised Hackett isn't good. 

116 Shortest honeymoon in history

"Folks … are we sure Nathaniel Hackett has any marketable skills besides saying "Yes Aaron, you are totally right, Aaron" in a quarterback room?"

No, no we aren't. Not any more at least.  Hackett better get his game management shit together fast.  Denver is not kind to incompetence, especially when the fan base was so excited for this year.

Thought that might show up in burn this play, though really I think the Seahawks 4 RB Int should have gotten it (I just wasn't aware of it until today).

127 Folks … are we sure…

Folks … are we sure Nathaniel Hackett has any marketable skills besides saying "Yes Aaron, you are totally right, Aaron" in a quarterback room?"

No, no we aren't. Not any more at least.

 

    Just like Adam Gase's main skill was being able to say "Yes sir, Mr.Manning, SIR!"

4 Fantastically quick and partial

So do we get the late games (other than San Fran) also covered tomorrow? If so, this is the greatest value on the internet!

5 I think the Lance injury is…

I think the Lance injury is more disastrous than people realize.

They traded three first round picks and an additional pick for him. That means he's not just a sunk cost in the way Josh Rosen was. The niners owe the fins this year's pick and next year's. That's an insane amount of equity for a player who by this time next year, will still be an unknown. 

Consider that it usually takes at least two years to get a good bead on what a quarterback is going to be. And in the case of Josh Allen, it took 3 years to see the light and four years plus a post season to be convinced of it. 

Lance has effectively played in 3 games. As such, 2023 will once again be a rookie year for him. Which means, after completing his rookie season, the 49ers will have to decide whether to pick up his 5th year option and we won't have some semblance of certainty about what he is until the end of the 2025 season. 

That also leaves the Jimmy G situation.

I truly think this was a tremendous injury and leaves the 49ers in the ultimate fork in the road moment coming in 2023 free agency 

10 Lance

I did/do not understand the love for Lance coming out of NDSU. I follow FCS pretty closely and he was good, for one year. But not "trade a boat load of picks to move up in the draft to pick him" good. I think scouts are falling into the NDSU QB hype way too much. 

16 I think the crazier thing…

In reply to by apbadogs

I think the crazier thing with San Francisco is trading a boatload of picks to replace a QB whose biggest issue is injuries with a QB with an extremely small sample size. I don't blame them for wanting to move on from Garoppolo, but man, you can't do it with a high-risk QB like that. 

29 Even "extremely small sample…

Even "extremely small sample size" understates it. The sample essentially didn't exist, once quality of competition was factored. The notion that an informed estimate can be made on the likelihood of a guy being even an replacement level NFL qb, based on that college career, was always ridiculous. The only thing that made drafting him that high not an obviously fireable offense was that the Niners roster was so good that wasting a high first round pick didn't consign the organization to 3rd and 4th place finishes for years, but even that doesn't take into account trading that much draft value, to get the chance to draft a qb without a sample size from college. Other than firing Schottenheimer, to pave the way to hire Ted Cottrell as defensive coordinator, it's the dumbest thing I've seen an NFL team do, going back about 25 years. 

40 If being fast and strong…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

If being fast and strong made somebody a good bet for a top 5 pick, to say nothing of trading huge draft capital to get him, then the NFL should be drafting track stars. You don't need to draft seniors to draft qbs who have, I know, I know, it's a crazy thought, actually played some football games against quality competition.

...

44 You think he was just Paxton Lynch?

Of course it's more than track stars but the whole competition thing is overblown. He...blew them out of the water. Was dynamic. Had good decision making. Etc. He was always going in the 1st because he did stuff other NDSU QBs didn't. And what few other NFL QBs can do too.

47 He was always going in the…

He was always going in the 1st because he did stuff other NDSU QBs didn't.

Gee, that's weird, because the two previous NDSU QBs also went in the NFL draft. And Lance isn't the highest drafted one!

Technically Lance has the lowest completion percentage in the NFL of the three, too!

119 And I wonder if there…

And I wonder if there anything else different about them...

You seriously have no idea how much I agree with you in general regarding racism in the NFL, but bringing it up in practically every discussion just defeats the entire purpose. Wentz was a much more solid NFL prospect than Lance was. I don't think there was a draft profile of Lance out there that didn't include the word "raw" in it.

Plus the other issue is that Lance was drafted without a combine at all, and so if you're drafting him on athletic ability, you're again not doing it under a fair comparison. Why is Lance a better athlete than Wentz is? Wentz's measurables at the combine were great. Lance was probably faster, but Wentz is 15 pounds heavier so that's not a shock. And, of course, the point to all of this is that Wentz also had "inexperience" tacked on to him, too!

Lance was drafted in one of the least data-filled environments in the past 20 years. No combine, limited Pro Day work, missing an entire season not due to injury. It's not crazy to believe that trading up that much for a prospect in that environment was a bad idea.

126 I think it was call bold at…

I think it was call bold at the time. I feel like all QB draft picks are genius if they work and mistakes otherwise. Even the guys who are sure-fire picks don't always work out. (Didn't QBase like Baker and Mariotta?) It was more risky than most, but it looks like they also kinda rolled a 1.

130 Seriously huh

YOU think he was a better prospect based on snaps. But as you forget the mediocre 2016 class was hardly hyped.

Literally only you think Wentz was a better prospect. Regardless, still couldn't do the things Lance could

138 It's difficult for me to be …

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

It's difficult for me to be "literally" the only person who thinks that, as I do not run NFL's draft grades, where Wentz was graded higher than Lance. So I'm happy to join the crowd of 2 and fight against the Twitter mob of Trey Lance defenders, who surely include Bills Stats Guy, German Guy who Looks like Aaron Rodgers, and the Ghost of Paul the Octopus.

Although I will happily concede that the NextGenStats ranking had Lance higher as a prospect because it had very little information on him.

177 The irony...

Is that if the 49ers had decided *not* to move up in the draft to take Lance, nobody would have been the wiser. Even if Lance had turned into "better Josh Allen," this isn't a Bears-taking-Trubisky-with-Mahomes-on-the-board situation where the incorrect decision would go down in infamy.

49 Going 28-32 is in another…

Going 28-32 is in another universe than going 1-5, and that's before factoring trading multiple future 1sts for the chance to spin the roulette wheel. The idea that the level of competition is "overblown", while putting large emphasis on the judgement that he "blew them out of the water" is,  well, certainly interesting. We aren't going to agree. That's ok.

 

55 I can't imagine yalls opinion

On Murray's 1 year ot starting. 

And yeah Lance was a better prospect than Lynch (26 actually)...because he was better lol. SF swung for the fences.

Wouldn't have been my choice (Fields) but other than him...yeah that's the right pick. Hardly the worst decision of even the last few years (ie Jordan Love and mitch Trubisky were mediocre vs mediocre  competition). What way SHOULD they have done after they traded up, outside of Fields? Get Jimmy redux in Mac? Spend that much on a non QB?

60 I dunno....maybe drafting a…

I dunno....maybe drafting a good football player who gets on the field? I know, I know, it's a crazy thought.

(edit)  "Swing for the fences" doesn't need entail taking a hack with your eyes closed.

70 See here's your problem

You're not specific...for a reason. Of COURSE they wanted a good player. Literally everyone does! You really think they closed their eyes picked out of a hat? Lol they picked the anti Jimmy because, yes DVOA truthers, Jimmy was limited one way or another. That's it. Hardly the worst draft decision the last few years. 

87 Yes, I think picking a qb…

Yes, I think picking a qb who has literally zero snaps against high quality competition, and a relatively very small number of games against inferior competition, is by definition a poorly informed choice, because one cannot be well informed about the odds of a college qb becoming a good NFL qb, with that kind of a college resume. Being "dynamic", or being a "good decision maker", can't be seperated from against whom the player is displaying those qualities, and how often. Making a poorly informed choice on a top 5 pick, after trading huge draft capital for that opportunity, is unwise, in my view. Like I said, we aren't going to agree, and that's ok.

 

98 Ah you STILL cant be specific?

"high quality production" sure is subjective. Guess what? It's a two way street. He didn't have "high quality" help either. And still killed it.

Being "dynamic", or being a "good decision maker", can't be seperated from against whom the player is displaying those qualities, and how often.

Why, yes, yes it can! Why and how are you evaluating other positions then? It was QUITE CLEAR that he was athletic and...he still was at the NFL level! We've literally seen that! That's not a surprise just because of the lack of competition! 

Making a poorly informed choice on a top 5 pick,

Poorly informed? Because YOU couldn't tell the 3 star recruit was athletic?

after trading huge draft capital for that opportunity, is unwise

Again, please provide an alternative. Give me multiple other good process picks that they could've been done after trading all that (of course without using hindsight and since the trade up WASN'T the biggest deal breaker). 

137 If you are actually…

If you are actually contending that the odds of seeing "dynamism " and "good decision making" in a qb don't swing wildly, depending on the quality of the opponent, well, for the third time, we simply aren't going to agree.

 

 

142 Well that's a redundant reply

Still waiting on an actual alternative. 

Or how you could possibly evaluate any other position with that line of thinking. 

Yall just waiting for an arbitrary amount is hardly how, unfortunately, real scouts work. Yall are just making it harder than it needs to be.

171 Repaying yourself

So will I. Provide the alternatives and how you can evaluate others instead writing them off completely (and why 5 is the magic arbitrary number).

175 It's not a magic number,…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

It's not a magic number, just an approximation.

(edit) Hey, I'm happy to give you the last word, if you want it. I've engaged with you extensively on this thread,after having almost entirely avoiding doing so for a couple years, if I remember right. I kind of regret doing so today, because I find interacting with you to be unpleasant, and I visit here strictly for fun. If you want to attribute that unpleasantness to my failings, that's fine with me. I'll seek to avoid you in the future, and if you would try to do the same with me, it'd be appreciated.

206 So you can't find an alternative?

Sorry you feel uncomfortable for a little pushback on an explanation. Youre gonna be the only one that thinks the pick is one of the worst decisions in modern football. Plenty of other people could see the traits. It's on you for not seeing them, competition and all. This whole time has been targeted at the evaluation of Lance, NOT the trade up, so you can slide out like that. 

But don't act like you and the other petty guys that have a ban on me, have some moral high ground going into every thread because things change (imagine carrying that attitude everywhere, on the internet). Well, that's if you actually want to discuss football instead of just living in an echochamber. 

146 RE: Unsolicited advice

Will, don't bother with engaging in a discussion with this individual.  His only objective is to demean others.  Which is a similar behavior to a handful of other posters here but more overt and with greater volume.  

 

FO doesn't have an ignore feature so you just need to restrain yourself from engaging as there is not intent of a reasonable discussion.  Just a stream of words with sporadic use of 'lol'.  

 

Just a suggestion.  

153 I honestly feel like if…

I honestly feel like if people think I come off as intentionally or even unintentionally obnoxious, they should tell me and explain why so that I may change my behavior. 

As it is, I use this site for helpful and educational discourse, not to indoctrinate a bunch of people into my world views. 

173 Demean?

How? You think you think your and slots petty ban isn't? 

Not surprising when one is called out and cant provide an answer. Like below when Rodgers clearly didn't want out. Which apparently was demeaning even though it was literally like the other replies. 

Holier than thou...trying to get others to partake in it to feel better about yourself. 

145 Give me multiple other good…

Give me multiple other good process picks that they could've been done after trading all that 

False premise.

The trade up (especially at the price) was itself a bad process, so there is no pick that would have been a good process pick.

178 More specifically, the price…

More specifically, the price they paid to trade up meant the only way they came out ahead was if Lance was Mahomes 2.0. or at least Herbert(pretty high end of the possibilities in short....) Considering no one has been able to predict great QB's with any accuracy (which is they go all over the place and not first) it's some pretty crazy faith in your predictions. 

Don't pay 80% of iphone price for the mystery box with a 50% chance of a iphone.

80 I think the bigger question…

I think the bigger question is should they have traded up at all? I don't really question the wisdom of trying to replace Garoppolo, it's just a question of the cost to risk ratio. In general I think that moving up for "your guy" is highly overrated by GMs; if your choice is "top QB prospect you like best" vs "top QB prospect you don't like as much + 2 first round draft picks the next two years" then I think you're almost always better off going with the second option. The trick is knowing whether you'll actually have the chance at that second prospect - obviously as things turned out, Fields went 11th, so who knows. It's also easy to forget that it's not like the 49ers necessarily could have traded for any pick among slots 3-11 with steadily decreasing costs; you have to have a trade partner who's willing to move back.

tl;dr the decision seems very defensible from both the big picture (draft QB to replace Garoppolo) and small picture (drafting Lance specifically) but perhaps involved assuming too much risk to justify the cost

85 That's a fairer point.

And I would agree. 

It's like the Darnold trade. In a vacuum I can see sound processing (also in another stacked class!) but there really wasn't a need to do it PRIOR to draft day, seeing how the board falls is a better bet. 

But the disdain from the others comes from Lance specifically, which, again outside of Fields, I think is fine (unlike the plethora of options GB had a year prior). But once that trade is done the ONLY way that trade is worth it, is if it's a QB (Mahomes, Watson). They swung and may mis though but that happens. 

94 What really bothers me about…

What really bothers me about the Lance pick was that it wasn't actually a "high risk, high reward" type of pick. No one considered Lance the best prospect in the draft. No one ever considered Lance the best quarterback in the draft. And I can't believe that the 49ers were "just different" in that regard - there's no way they could have considered Lance a better prospect than Lawrence.

So they weren't exactly going all in for "their guy." They were going all in for "the guy who they're gonna call their guy because they know they can't actually get the guy who they think is best." Less catchy, I know. Sure, they might've preferred Lance over Wilson. That I can believe. But "man, I can't believe we got this guy at 3 when we thought he'd go at 2!" is... not exactly a huge sell (getting a guy at 2 when you thought he should go 1 is different, because there's nothing above 1).

When the Bears traded up for Trubisky, it was at least justifiable in terms of a scouting failure. But the process makes sense. When the Eagles traded up for Wentz it made sense because it's totally possible that the Eagles had Wentz higher than Goff (and they might be right there). I didn't agree with the Bears trading for Fields because I had a lower opinion on Fields, but again, the process made sense: they jumped to grab a prospect that they thought was worth way more than the draft position he was at.

141 No one considered Lance the…

No one considered Lance the best prospect in the draft. No one ever considered Lance the best quarterback in the draft. And I can't believe that the 49ers were "just different" in that regard - there's no way they could have considered Lance a better prospect than Lawrence.

True, and a good point, but that doesn't make it not a high reward pick. Lawrence was obviously the top prospect for a reason, but those reasons also made him functionally unavailable to the 49ers, so I don't know that it makes a lot of sense to say "they traded that much for a guy who wasn't Lawrence", since there's no rule that there's only 1 star QB every draft or anything.

When the Bears traded up for Trubisky, it was at least justifiable in terms of a scouting failure. But the process makes sense. 

No, it absolutely did not make sense. This was the exact thing I was talking about earlier - the Bears traded up one slot to make sure they got "their guy." Even if somebody else had jumped them to get Trubisky, they're better off staying put and picking one of the other highly regarded QBs (Mahomes or Watson). This isn't hindsight talking, either - that was a common take in the moment as well. The top 3 all had pretty similar valuations in aggregate, and my contention is that history has shown repeatedly that while the NFL draft is pretty good at sorting players into tiers, it's very bad at sorting players among those tiers. Advocating for "your guy" is one thing when you're on the clock and have to make the pick, but giving up resources to draft one player over another who's equally regarded at the same position just seems like an unjustifiable bet on your own ability to beat the market.

Edit: Picking Trubisky over Mahomes/Watson makes sense - as you said, scouting failure. Happens all the time. Trading up to do so is the part that doesn't make sense.

150 since there's no rule that…

since there's no rule that there's only 1 star QB every draft or anything.

The fact that there are QBs you put above him lowers your expectations for him. Yes, there's no rule against it but it's certainly far less likely that he's going to be great if he hasn't even gotten into the NFL yet and you're already saying "but he's not as good as X."

With the Bears and Trubisky I should qualify this: I agree with you that it probably was a "their guy" issue. But it's possible it was just terrible scouting because they could've had Trubisky ranked far and away above everyone else. Who knows. It's the Bears. I think they draft QBs by consensus mock draft or something.

With Lance that's not even possible, because they had no way of really knowing who the Jaguars and Jets would draft unless they agreed that those other players were better. And if they thought Lawrence, Wilson, and Lance were interchangeable and they didn't care, again, see point 1: having 3 interchangeable QBs you believe are worth a top pick in a draft means you're probably overrating them.

82 Competition level

The level of talent Trubisky faced is in an entirely different stratosphere from what Love and especially Lance faced in college. 43 players from Trubisky's conference (ACC) were drafted in 2017, 10 from Love's conference (MWC) were drafted in 2020, and 5 from Lance's entire division (FCS) of play were picked in 2021. 

86 And that doesn't explain

In reply to by JonesJon

Why Lancd still had more tools. Maybe Lance just had more tools and that's why he dominated while Trubisky biggest scouting trait was...the ever coded prototypical. 

105 RAS liked Trubisky more than…

RAS liked Trubisky more than Mahomes.
https://ras.football/ras-compare/?&p1=14605&p2=14701&pos=QB

It had Watson a touch higher, and Lance not at all. (No combine data)

96 Murray played teams that…

Murray played teams that were more talented than his, at the FBS level.  Lance played teams that won't have any NFL players drafted, for a team that constantly sends guys to the pro level.  Claiming that ND State is the Alabama of the FCS level is an insult to ND State; Alabama hasn't won 9 of the last 11 national championships.  Judging the talent and skill of quarterbacks in a situation like that is incredibly hard; no Alabama QBs have worked out since Richard Todd until maybe Mac Jones and Tua.  Wentz looked like a star until he got hurt, and now he's probably tier 3.  Sucks for Lance, but it's injuries, not talent issues.  Was Ki-Jana Carter a bust, or bad luck?

 

104 I'm still wondering

How yall judge other positions now.

"Waddle isn't good because Bama is loaded!! He got all the help!"

"Tua isn't good because Bama is loaded!!! He got all the help!"

"Leatherwood isn't good because Bama is loaded!! He got all the help!! 

Well actually a loooooooooooooooot of people said Leatherwood was reach...at 17. They were right. Football is tricky but yall gotta be able to separate better because it seems like you're not...very useful in scouting otherwise lol. Not that it's YOUR job but, Lance was justifiable, FCS and all. 

Talent is why he was drafted so high! Injuries are also tricky to predict. Much more so than if Lance is good enough to go in the top 11 or whatever, imo. 

202 Perhaps they watch the games…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Perhaps they watch the games where Alabama plays someone close to their level, like LSU, Clemson, or Ohio State.  For Trey Lance, that consists of going 6 of 10 for 72 yards against #2 James Madison.  Perhaps you would include #5 Montana State, #13 Illinois State and #19 Nicholls; he did well against Montana State, but Illinois State held him to 10 of 21 for 135 yards and no touchdowns. He did run for a lot of yards, but his only great passing game was against Montana State, where he went 15 of 21 for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns.

207 Ah

So by watching you can see the traits separate from the competition right? You could see some things he did Jimmy couldn't, correct?

If not then that just might be box score watching then, and not the tools that differentiate him and the current starter.

209 Watching Lance's college…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Watching Lance's college tape, I thought he ran well but I couldn't tell how good he actually was at that because of the competition.  He's better running than I thought.

I thought his arm strength was great, but I didn't think he read defenses as well as the other members of the top four.  Also, he threw a lot less than the other guys, and had open guys deep that he would miss.  He wasn't as accurate as Fields in college.  He did not throw any interceptions, and didn't fumble much either, if I remember.

Matt Waldman thought Lance was the 2nd best guy in that draft, after Lawrence.  Waldman wasn't enthralled with Wilson or Fields; I can't remember what he thought of Mac Jones.  So Lance going so high wasn't on a ledge.

If anything, the Niners should be chastised for the trade up, especially before they knew Lance was available.  The only reason you make that trade early is to not pay as much, if you believe Lawrence, Wilson or Lance is a franchise QB.  The Jets did the same thing with Darnold and it burned them, as the similar decision seems to be burning the Niners.

As far as the Jordan Love situation, part of the problem is that the Packers jumped the gun.  Love is going to be a free agent by the time Rodgers is done; if you're want a back-up plan for a real franchise QB, take somebody in the second or third.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins got a promising QB prospect in the last draft, and it only cost them a 7th round pick.

211 Couldn't tell speed from tape?

Could easily reverse engineer it with a long relatively straight run. Competition isn't hurting that.

The least accurate yes but no horrible decisions, just couldn't make some throws even though the right read. Big arm yeah. 

I mentioned the trade up above. If you're looking for something different at QB (better) Lance is as anti Jimmy as it gets. Big arm. Mobile. Tons of potential right after a Josh Allen breakout. 2nd best decision there outside of Fields, won't kill em for it.

Not revisionist history but Hurts at 30 >>>>>> Love at 26. Better prospect, less cost. Would still swap with Phillys first two rounds to this day 

158 Wentz

had 27 TDs v 7 INTs last year. That's not tier 3. He was ahead of Burrow and Stafford in QBR.

He's got 7 TDs this year versus Ryan's 1 TD and 4 INTs.

Imagine being an FO writer and thinking Matty melted ice would be an improvement, what a maroon! WE HAVE THE RECEIPTS MEDIA FOOLS!

161 It’s certainly true that…

In reply to by horn

It’s certainly true that Wentz has always been good at meaningless stat padding in losses. Yesterday being another prime example. 

201 Imagine being an FO writer I…

In reply to by horn

Imagine being an FO writer

I am not an FO writer, but a commenter; they don't pay me for this.  Sorry if he's tier 2, my point about Wentz is that he is the one that worked out compared to all the other ND State and Alabama guys, until now (assuming Tua and Jones are actually good).

I have to admit I thought Ryan would do a lot better, but Ryan is sort in the same position as Justin Fields; he has no one to throw to.  At least Fields has the ability to run for his life.

If your main point is that Tanier's bias against Wentz was foolish, well,

RECEIPT!

45 Well, for reference, Wentz…

Well, for reference, Wentz had twice the attempts as Lance with obviously similar competition. And while drafting Wentz was risky I don't think it was super-risky, and I think on balance Wentz is basically worth the pick that he was taken at.

hate drafting QBs with 1 year of starting experience, because you can't see any adaptation/changes/growth/etc. Adapting to what defenses do and what you do wrong is the vast majority of what being a quarterback is all about. If you can't see any of that, I don't know how you evaluate anything.

22 Was he considered a big…

In reply to by apbadogs

Was he considered a big reach at the time? IIRC it was considered risky, but not terrible. Feels like more bad luck than anything. 

Trade up + player gets injured = horrible

trade up + player is Mahomes = genius

 

35 Trade up + player gets…

Trade up + player gets injured = horrible

trade up + player is Mahomes = genius

The Chiefs traded a 3rd round pick and a likely low 1st round pick to move up 17 slots for Mahomes. The 49ers traded a 3rd round pick and two future 1st round picks to move up 9 slots for Lance. The Chiefs did what they did on draft day, when they knew what they had to do to get Mahomes: in other words, if Mahomes had gotten snagged earlier, they just wouldn't've made the trade. The 49ers made their trade well before the draft: they overpaid because they weren't content with the idea of losing the player.

If the Chiefs had stayed put, very likely none of the quarterbacks even remotely well-regarded that year would've been around. If the 49ers had stayed put, they likely would've still had a choice between 2 highly-regarded quarterbacks.

Yes, talent falls off fast so getting higher is much harder, but that's why it's important to stay patient. The 49ers gave up a top-half 1st and two additional firsts. The Chiefs gave up two bottom-half 1sts. Not all trades are equal. I despise trades into the top 5 for good teams. Just way too expensive.

79 The 49ers entire thought…

The 49ers entire thought process has been perplexing. As you noted, they gave up an extreme amount for him and his most evident weakness was a lack of playing time. The natural conclusion would be that they would seek to get him into the lineup as soon as possible but they did the opposite. 

If the logic was that Jimmy G provided them a much better chance to win last year, why give up so much for Lance in the draft? If Jimmy G give you a better chance to win, why turn the reigns over to Lance now while Jimmy G is still on the team? If the reason to play Lance now was that they gave up so much to get him, why didn't that apply last season?

The only way any of it makes sense is if you believe that what made Rodgers and Mahomes superstars is sitting on the bench as young QBs. 

117 Its a galaxy brain move by Shanahan

... an attempt to replicate the Mahomes gambit by the Chiefs, which is extremely unlikely to work. 

Somewhere between ill-conceived and just incredibly hubristic. Trading up to draft a QB - months before the draft - remains a really bad idea, especially in an era of more QB movement and disgruntlement when you can more easily acquire comparable options. 

 

210 For other teams I would…

For other teams I would agree but the 49ers have done a great job getting impact starters in other rounds in both of those drafts. Through 2 games it looks like they found league average guards in 2 of the Lance drafts. They found a potential star safety in Hufanga in last year's draft as well. A starting slot corner in the 5th this year. For a poorly ran organization the Lance trade is already an unrecoverable disaster. For the 49ers they gave up a 12th, 29th, and who knows what next year if Jimmy stays healthy. Next draft is the last draft without a 1st round pick and healthy Jimmy essentially makes that a 20th pick at worst. The other side of this is Trey was the youngest QB in that draft and is still 2 years younger than Kenny Pickett. SF was the only team in the NFL that could lose their starting QB and move up in playoff odds because they had the best backup situation in the league. They also had the one rookie QB that could lose a season to injury and recover because of his youth. In the end it looks like most of the value of having a QB on a rookie contract is gone, which is a big blow. Outside of that they are fine because they draft and trade so well. Worst part about it is this defense is probably good enough for Trey to make the playoffs with below average numbers and he misses another opportunity to get reps. Silver lining is he now gets a bunch of time to work on mechanics with his QB coach. 

6 I'm thinking Tua is good…

I'm thinking Tua is good Pennington, and Jones is weaker Pennington, although it's not Jones' fault the Pats didn't dump all their resources into great receivers.  Pennington could hit Randy Moss in stride, in college at least.  I'm thinking Tua will eventually get in rhythm with the speedsters.  The problems for the weaker arms are worst when trying the deep outs; you can see how Jones and Tua are trying to get around it, by going full lollipop guild and hoping their tall receivers can bail them out.

Also, I doubt Pats-Ravens ends up being a good game.  I fully expect the Ravens to cry Nevermore and shove the Patriots into the woodchipper.

14 I stand by my statement that…

I stand by my statement that the Pats are the least watchable team right now. Not good enough to be worth watching but not bad enough to be entertaining or have anything to be excited about in the draft. 

100 One issue I've noticed with…

One issue I've noticed with Jones is that his accuracy falls apart when he is on the run.  Pennington was still very accurate on the run, even after the injuries.

Tua seems to have more escapability than Jones and possibly more accuracy on the run.

184 He was really good presnap,…

He was really good presnap, and prior to pulling the trigger, too. If he'd been with a good organization, and stayed healthy, I suspect he'd would be viewed, at the least, as worthy of induction to the Hall of Very Good.p

198 Really, Aaron

He was in 1 year with an injured Favre. Then a young Allen who was awful. Then Ryan and Brees in their ancient phases. And what year was Brady in a division with Manning?

Your list simply shows how awful Brady's in-division quarterback competition has been, Aaron.

203 Brady's year against Farve…

In reply to by BigRichie

Brady's year against Farve ended in the middle of game 1.  The first year Brady started the Colts were still in the AFC East; Peyton threw for over 4,000 yards and still missed the playoffs (too many turnovers and bad defense).  That was also the year Jim Mora had his PLAYOFFS blow up.

In general Brady's in-division quarterback competition has been weak, but that was mostly because Pennington got hurt.  If he didn't get hurt in the preseason game in 2003, or if, more importantly, he had slid against Buffalo in 2004, then the Jets are much more of a problem for New England, especially if they jettisoned Herm for a better coach.   But yeah, them's the breaks.

9 RE: Lance

First, best of luck to the young man in his recovery

 

Second, I would appreciate a non sarcasm filled explanation as to why even now the Packers get crushed for drafting Love while Kyle Shanahan continues to be held as a Zen master of all things football.  He of the 40-43 career coaching record and stupid hats (well, I think that style is dumb but I am old)

 

To me either both teams are/were dumb or both were executing against a long term plan.  I legit do not understand why one team is mocked and another is not

 

Just curious. 

13 Easy:

In reply to by big10freak

4 years left of Rodgers coming off a 13-3 with a bye and NFCCG messed up by the coach>>>>>>>>>>>>>>2 years left of Jimmy coming off of a 6-10 no playoff season because of yet another time of Jimmy being unavailable and grading much lower than the stats would show.

And Lance>>>>>>>Love.

Everyone expected this worrisome situation for GB to happen like this (oh wow Love couldnt beat out Rodgers). No one expected a season ending injury in week 2 for SF (but Lance could still do things Jimmy couldnt, hence how he got hurt). And at the end of the day, Lance had more starts his rookie year, alone, than Love has had now in year three. Lance could have an upwards of 21 starts before his 5YO decision. Love...well 20 and that's only if you include the playoffs and a very quick injury that takes out Rodgers this week.  

Again Mike was melodramatic lol. Dude has a whole nother year left. Not ideal this happened but still a better pathway of knowing who he is than GB.

62 Yup, exactly right. SF was…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Yup, exactly right. SF was taking a (big) chance to try to get over the hump. GB was... I suppose trying to push their MVP QB out the door in the middle of a SB window. One makes sense, the other...

18 I think you’re conflating a…

In reply to by big10freak

I think you’re conflating a few things. 

Lance was at least a tantalizing prospect that dominated at a lower level; he was considered to be a worse prospect than Trevor Lawrence but roughly on par with Zach Wilson and Fields, and slightly above Max Jones. On the other hand, Love threw 17 interceptions in his junior year and was generally considered to be a significantly worse prospect than Tua, Herbert, or Burrow.

In addition to lower upside as a prospect, the Love pick was a philosophically bad idea because the Packers had other immediate needs and a top 3 QB entrenched as their starter (who, for whatever it’s worth, was widely assumed to take drafting a QB as a personal affront). A team in that situation should be drafting to maximize their Super Bowl window, not taking a flyer on a high-end backup.

Drafting Lance was always regarded as a risky move, but the best-case scenario of having a Deshaun Watson-level production on a rookie deal represented a significant upgrade over the incumbent starter. The only way the Love pick makes any sense at all is if the franchise was preparing to move on from Rodgers, because if keeping Rodgers for the next 3-5 years was always the plan, then you should go get him another weapon (Higgins and Pittman were still on the board) or fill a hole on defense (eg Antoine Winfield).

Finally, John Lynch is the GM of the 49ers and ultimately the one who signed off on trading up and drafting Lance. Kyle Shanahan is known for being a very good offensive coach, but I don’t see what he or his silly hats have to do with anything. 

23 Love was basically Jimmy G…

Love was basically Jimmy G in terms of situation. The backup in case the incumbent falls off the table. And....it didn't happen. Good problem to have honestly.  I'm not sure wanting coverage in case of injury or decline is totally wrong.     

25 You’re not wrong, but you’ve…

You’re not wrong, but you’ve totally ignored the opportunity cost of the decision. I don’t see how anyone could possibly argue that the Packers are in a better place now with Love as a backup QB than they would be with Higgins or Winfield. “Let’s draft a backup at a premium position instead of a potential starter” only makes philosophical sense if the roster is stacked tip-to-tail, which the Packers weren’t. 

24 RE: Philosphy

Good or bad the Packers have worked on the philosophy of moving on sooner rather than later with players.  

 

Also, 2019 Rodgers was not a great season for him.  He was good.  But everyone and their cousin was opining that the trendline was going in the wrong direction.

 

At the time in Packerland there was not only the club discussing moving on from 12 but we now know that 12 was making noises about moving on from GB.

 

I see the two players as roughly equivalent both then and now.  I thought both were overdrafted FWIW.  And to be clear I wasn't a fan of drafting Love at the time though once it was done want to be supportive of the young man.  

 

And the articles I have read stated that Shanahan was pushing hard for Lance so that is why I attributed the drafting of the player to the coach versus the GM.  I did a quick Google search and Shanahan is the spokesperson for the Niners on why Lance was the pick.  So I didn't think it unreasonable to tie him to the selection.  

26 “I see the two players as…

In reply to by big10freak

“I see the two players as roughly equivalent both then and now.”

Fair enough for you, but virtually everyone else saw Lance as the better prospect by a significant margin. So maybe that’s the missing piece. 

31 Re: qb evaluation

Because of many years of watching, reading and listening my general stance is that all qb prospects are suspect save for the rare Peyton Manning where it is clear the game will translate to the pros

 

So when everyone says this guy is better I am responding with We’ll see

 

Not to steal a line from Charlie Wilson’s War

 

But ok

90 Just because there is…

Just because there is inherent risk in drafting a QB doesn't make all the prospects equal. Lance was inarguably going in the first round and probably in the top half of the first round. That is how the league evaluated him, not just the 49ers. Jordan Love was a fringe first rounder that a lot of teams had a day 2 grade on. 

Even setting that aside, Lance is clearly the more intriguing prospect because of his rushing ability. Jordan Love is not a true dual threat

38 "but we now know that 12 was making noises about moving on"

In reply to by big10freak

Just before the drafting of Love he reiterated wanting to play into his 40s for GB. Of course you rethink things when you're employer decides to replace you (and use that leverage to get paid for more security).

And everyone understands their philosophy. People just question it (and it certainly cost them a trip or two to the SB). 

42 I think a lot of it has to…

In reply to by big10freak

I think a lot of it has to do with pedigree. Rodgers was a multi time MVP and an all time QB who still pretty good.  Jimmy G, on the other hand, had a reputation in the toilet after the Sb is perpetually hurt.

Also the Love pick was viewed as a reach even where they picked him. And since Lawrence was considered an all-time generational prospect, Lance was considered a solid run-of-the-mill first overall prospect. 

I need to poll more college fb fans to figure out why a guy with suuuuuch a slim body of work was given such high esteem? There are certainly been some success stories with small school types, so that part I understand. But to have basically one year on cfb and be drafted so high is just weird to me. 

65 Just Favre-Rodgers again

(transplanted) Wisconsinner here. Everyone said absolutely the same stuff about drafting Rodgers while Favre was still there.

It wasn't obvious until this spring that Rodgers was going to stick around. It was always iffy until it finally and recently wasn't.

Oh, and saying "they could've instead had the very best player drafted after that slot!!!" is a waste of everyone's time.

19 why even now the Packers get…

In reply to by big10freak

why even now the Packers get crushed for drafting Love while Kyle Shanahan continues to be held as a Zen master of all things football.

You're literally comparing apples to oranges? You can either ask "why is drafting Lance different than Love" or "why is LaFleur not considered as good a head coach as Kyle Shanahan." The answer to the first one is that the 49ers haven't abandoned Lance yet, so the pick doesn't look wasted (technically the Packers haven't abandoned Love yet, but c'mon). The answer to the second one is... I think he is?

It's still too early to claim that Lance is going to end up being a wasted pick, but it's certainly trending that way. They're going to have to make a decision on his fifth-year option with only 1 full season. Even if he plays great next year, the injury risk puts you in the same spot you were with Garoppolo.

28 Sadly, injury risk is the…

Sadly, injury risk is the hardest thing to model. It's possible, but he isn't necessarily doomed to be injury prone now. Chargers moved on from Bree's due to injury risk...yeah. People said Brady was injury prone after 2008.(he missed 4 games in the next 13 years). It's....hard to predict. 

36 People said Brady was injury…

People said Brady was injury prone after 2008.

Um. What.

Who are these people, and why are we listening to them? They are stupid. It was literally the first injury that caused him to miss time. After 7 years of starting. Anyone who said this has the attention span of a fruit fly.

63 With Brees, there was a lot…

With Brees, there was a lot of uncertainty around how damaged his rotator cuff was in addition to the labrum tear. Repetitive motion injuries are definitely different than contact or non-contact injuries.

Source on that quote about Brady? I don’t recall anyone ever saying that, unless you’re referring to the vaguer concerns around the staph infection from his ACL surgery. He did spend something like 5 straight seasons on the injury report as “probable” but never actually missed any time. 

68 He did spend something like…

He did spend something like 5 straight seasons on the injury report as “probable” but never actually missed any time. 

That was just Bill Belichick trolling the league, though. Tom Brady's still probably probable every week: they just got rid of the designation.

186 Why is Lance an "injury risk…

Why is Lance an "injury risk"?  Has he had injuries prior to this broken ankle?  (Maybe he had other injuries I'm not aware of.) I wouldn't think a single broken ankle is a sign of future injuries.  (Though it could possibly be a risk of reduced running ability.)

193 I don't think he was a "out…

I don't think he was a "out for the season/much of the season" sort of injury risk.   I think Aaron mentioned in Audibles that mobile QBs were not a greater injury risk than than pocket QBs.  But the risk with a QB who runs a lot is a much shorter career - I think it's still true that running backs have the shortest average career of any position and it's been that way for a long time.  Not from catastrophic injury but from getting steadily  ground down by the beating they take.

167 Because the Niners spent the…

In reply to by big10freak

Because the Niners spent the draft capital to theoretically vastly improve at the most important position. The Packers spent draft capital to piss off their MVP QB and contribute nothing to the team. It didn't make sense at the time, and it doesn't make sense now.

Justin Jefferson was selected four picks ahead of Love, but even if you say that there was no way they could have gotten him, they still could have picked a whole host of great players without giving up a first and fourth. Ask Aaron Rodgers if he'd rather have Tee Higgins (33rd), Michael Pittman (34th), Jonathan Taylor (41st), Trevon Diggs (51st) or Antoine Winfield Jr. (45th), or a benchwarmer. We can never know for sure, but considering how close GB has been over the past few years, that decision may have cost them a superbowl.

 

169 Just garbage

This is garbage analytics, cherry picking guys after that slot who wound up playing well. The only fair comparison is slot average. This stuff you're doing is just garbage.

Had the Packers drafted someone who could help Favre right away rather than gambling on a QB who was dropping like a stone, they'd be the Vikings today. Heck, maybe the Bears.

180 Not the Bears. It takes…

In reply to by BigRichie

Not the Bears. It takes special skills to be as bad as the Bears are on offense. The Vikings are a good comp, though, although I think they're on that track already.

181 It's not cherry picked

In reply to by BigRichie

Those were VERY common picks for them back then in mocks. Could they have stuck out on it there? Sure, but the the process was they thought he was declining. Even IF true (turns out they were so great evaluating their own players!) there wasn't much they could do with the contract he had just recently signed. 

The only pathway for the trade up to work was for their high priced QB to suck, then just insert Love (if he was ever good enough). But letting a big chunk of the gap being used by someone that sucks...well sucks.

The Favre comparison doesn't hold as much weight as the team wasn't as close to the SB prior nor did Rodgers show any signs of retirement (see my link below) like Favre did. Oh and Rodgers was a muuuuuuuuch better prospect, with many surprised at him falling to 24. No one was surprised when Love was avaliable at 26. Hence the head scratching.

11 RE: GB/CH

Special teams were competent for a second straight game.  Hooray!  And yes I know Amari fumbled a ball.  But the overall squad has at least early on moved from a disgusting fat ball found in the sewers of London to unworthy of noticing.  Which is GREAT progress.

 

I also am glad the Mason Crosby apprehensive "oh jesus is the snap even going to get here" look has vanished for the time being.

 

The officiating crew from last night came into the game as liking to throw flags.  But I saw plenty of offensive holding on both sides that went uncalled.  So that was mildly interesting.

 

Good to have Jenkins back.  He didn't have a flawless game, but just getting Jake Hanson off the field is a huge plus.  (Jenkins coming back pushes Newman to guard and Hanson to the bench)

 

Christian Watson didn't get any chances to catch a pass but another end around and if nothing else you can tell that the young man is not afraid of contact.  He can take a lick and dish it out.

 

Adian Amos with not a great start to the season.  Did he suddenly turn old overnight?  This is two straight games of pretty bad play.  And no discussion of any injury.

 

Preston Smith is not a perfect player, but he's definitely a very SMART player.  I am sure Z Smith will have some moments in MN, but I think Preston was the guy to keep.  Sets a great edge, rarely gets juked and makes enough splash plays to make you think maybe he 'is' special.  Good guy to have on any defense.

 

I do not understand how a team can take entire series off on defense.  Most of the night the Packers D is aggressive while playing in control and two drives they are getting manhandled so that Fields does not have to even try and pass.  It's just weird.  Happened last week as well obviously.  

 

As for Fields, I keep in mind that Chicago is not a good organization, that he is on his second coaching group/offensive approach barely into his career, and the guys around him other than Montgomery and a few of the linemen are not much.  Still, it's concerning.  Perfect weather night, play action was there to be had with the Bears kicking GB's bum and Chicago just was not interested in giving him a chance.  And when they did............phew.  

20 Fields definitely looks…

In reply to by big10freak

Fields definitely looks slower in processing than he did at the end of last season, and when things don't go the way they're supposed to he definitely looked like he was panicking - or at least "did not have a plan" if you prefer that wording.

Basically, all the same concerns I had when he was in college. Still of the opinion that the Bears were the absolute worst place for him to go.

69 He's in a terrible situation…

He's in a terrible situation and we all know that, but at the end of the year chances are we'll all be closing the book on him. Rightfully so? I suppose we should wait until it happens and talk about it then.

133 I think the bigger concern…

I think the bigger concern that I have for Fields is he doesn't seem to be recognizing the terrible situation he's in. He's got to get faster at decision making and anticipation, regardless of whether or not the decisions they're asking him to make are bad or not.

I'd rather see Fields getting angry at other players and coaches for putting him in a position to fail.

156 A 2nd year QB with no NFL…

A 2nd year QB with no NFL track record blaming other players and his coaches for poor performance is never going to get a positive result from that process.

He's not getting a positive result from the process he's currently using either!

I maybe should've said "almost rather." As in, I don't like either process but I feel like I'd feel better if I could see him recognizing where the problems are. I hate bringing guys like Brady or Rodgers into this, but with those guys you see them practically start ignoring guys who they know aren't going to get open. That's what I mean. I'd feel better if I saw Fields just zipping through guys or just bailing quickly on plays where he knows the protection's going to fail. That'd at least tell me he sees it.

It just seems like he's settling too much into Bears QB role. Gotta be more decisive at this point. Being wrong is one thing. Not making a decision is something else.

196 Yes, absolutely! The only…

Yes, absolutely! The only reason I'm saying I wish I was seeing it now is just how slow he's looking so far. It's really worrying.

I wasn't particularly impressed with his processing in college, either, so not to see the growth he had late in 21 continue is bothersome.

34 I cannot believe how much…

In reply to by big10freak

I cannot believe how much obvious (as in "wrap your arm around the neck of the pass rusher") holding is happening, through two weeks, without the flag being thrown. Maybe it was at the same level in '20 and '21, when I wasn't watching many games, but it's really jumping out at me now.

41 Re: Holding scenarios

The situations where a fan “almost” always sees a holding call:

 

—drag the defender to the ground on pass rush or run between tackles 

—pull defender out of path of runner in obvious fashion 

 

Otherwise it’s fair game to give a hold a try.  

17 Well, now we know

Waiting almost a decade for an answer to: "What if Russel Wilson was running this offense instead of EJ Manuel."  I guess that's answered.

21 conclusion

Mitch Trubisky is hard to watch. He really was born about 30 years too late. In the 1980s people would praise him as a good ball handler that takes what they give him style QB as he hands off 30 times and misses open receivers or worse misses covered receivers ever now and then. I've watched about 6 solid quarters of Steelers football thanks to odd choices by the networks, and I can safely say, I don't want to watch another quarter of Steelers football this season. First down, run up middle. Second down, run up middle. Third down, pass 3 yards short of the sticks. Maybe it's complete, probably it isn't. Punt. That's it. That's the entire game highlights. 

 

I think the Bills would be hard pressed to follow the Ravens defensive game plan of having nearly the entire secondary injured and be forced to play a rookie CB one on one against Hill in the closing minutes. Miami played two games this year. One 2020-2021 style game (the good style where they won) and one 1985 style where Dan Marino throws a million times to the Marks brothers and prays his defense gets maybe one stop. Basically, after two games, I don't know what team to expect going forward. Hopefully the best of both of them, but it's been forever since they had an offense AND a defense. 

37 So I watched this game too…

In reply to by johonny12

So I watched this game too and somehow, unthinkably, I came away more impressed with Mitch than I ever thought I would be. 

How so, might you ask? Well, in addition to the "hide and seek" remedial offense he was inserted into, Trubisky absolutely nailed a ton of third and long sideline throws into tight windows. The kind of throws lesser QBs rarely complete and much lesser qbs never even attempt.

However, he also has the processing speed of a 1980s computer trying to perform machine learning on modern data sets. And that's why some of the sacks he took are astoundingly bad and why every throw in the middle of the field is an adventure.

I will say, if a QB can do the hard stuff well and sucks at the more remedial stuff, you could in theory have something to work with. In a different universe, I could see him going to the Bill Walsh junior college and being a good player a few years after. 

50   I will say, if a QB can do…

 

I will say, if a QB can do the hard stuff well and sucks at the more remedial stuff, you could in theory have something to work with. In a different universe, I could see him going to the Bill Walsh junior college and being a good player a few years after. 

He just needed to not be drafted by Chicago. He's like, 4 years behind the curve.

57 The "offense" you describe…

In reply to by johonny12

The "offense" you describe is exactly who the Steelers have been since the 2018 season, through multiple QBs (Ben, Rudolph, Duck Hodges, Ben again, and now Trubisky) and 2 different OCs.  Over the last 3 seasons (2020, 2021, 2022), the only times the Steelers have looked even remotely competent on offense is when they've fallen significantly behind, right before half-time, or needing a score late.  When the situation calls for the game plan to be abandoned, the team has been able to move the ball and score points consistently.  The offense looks completely different from scheme to execution - more aggressive, using the whole field, etc.  Once the game is close again, right back to the ultra conservative "screens and lobs outside the numbers" passing game and runs up the middle on first down.  Look at this past week.  Down 17-6, they go no-huddle, get more aggressive, and march right down field and score.  Now down just 17-14, it's right back to the original game plan leading to two identical 3 and outs.  

Don't get it twisted.  I am not saying the Steelers would have a top offense if they were more aggressive or had better coaching on that side of the ball.  The QB situation just hasn't been good since 2018 (though not nearly as terrible as made out to be), limiting upside potential.  But, better coaching would have them at least competent.  As is, the offense is just painful to watch.  

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