How 49ers’ Trey Lance is impressing his QB coach, Brian Griese

Stan Szeto USA TODAY Sports

Brian Griese joined the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, leaving ESPN to be the team’s quarterbacks coach and working with last year’s No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance. He was among the assistant coaches who spoke with reporters on Thursday.

“The other day, I was trying to think of what I would be doing now if I was still working in television, and I was so thankful to be here,” Griese said. “Let’s just put it that way.”

Griese, 47, spent 11 seasons as an NFL quarterback, so he can advise Lance on the challenges he might face while embarking on his first season as a starter.

“I think that some of the things I experienced can be helpful,” Griese said. “I hope they can be helpful and, hopefully, help all of our quarterbacks to anticipate how we react to certain situations, both on and off the field.”

How does Griese assess the 22-year-old Lance as the 49ers are close to ending their second week of training camp?

“I’ve been really encouraged,” Griese responded. “… He gives himself a chance because he shows up every single day, and he’s ready to work. He has a humility about him that gives him a chance to learn from his mistakes, to grow. I’ve been really encouraged about his demeanor. That’s impressive for a young man his age. That’s not natural.

“So the way that he interacts with his team, the way he operates on the field, the way he responds when he makes a mistake, all of those things are very, very positive on top of his physical abilities, which are significant.”

Veteran tackle Trent Williams said something similar this week as he praised Lance.

“He’s giving everybody confidence,” Williams shared. “He’s giving everybody confidence in his ability and his poise, the way he commands the huddle. I say all the time that I’m impressed that he [doesn’t] make the same mistake twice, and I think, from a young quarterback, that’s all you can ask for because they’re going to make mistakes, and that’s part of the learning curve.”

Griese admits that he won’t be able to fully evaluate Lance until the quarterback gets into games and starts gaining some much-needs experience. However, Griese sees the same traits discussed by Williams.

“I think his demeanor has been really impressive in that he is able to compartmentalize his job,” Griese said, “his role, his understanding, mentally what he is responsible for collectively as a leader of the team and the offense, what he’s responsible for. And having the proper timing of communication, when to get on somebody, when to encourage, when to slow things down, when to pick things up. You really are a manager not only of the game but of the people.

“For someone his age, 22 years old, he doesn’t have it down. We’re continuing to grow with that, but he has a foundation and a base that I think is really impressive. And the relationships that he has in the locker room is what allows him to do that. … He’s got an appropriate amount of understanding of timing and moments. He doesn’t get too low, doesn’t get too high. That’s been pretty cool to see.”

Lance has had his ups and downs during training camp. However, several players have quickly noted that the young quarterback is facing a challenging task, practicing against one of the league’s best defensive units. That should help accelerate the learning process as long as that understanding is there.

“It can’t get much harder, but you also want to build some skills and some confidence, too,” Griese admitted while laughing. “But I think he understands the position that we’re in. I think he understands that this is a great opportunity to grow and to do it against some of the best in the league.”

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