With Jimmy Garoppolo still dealing with a calf injury, Trey Lance will make his first NFL start this Sunday against the Cardinals in Arizona. Lance may not have multiple Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle, who is doubtful for Sunday's game with a calf injury.
Lance filled in for Garoppolo after Garoppolo sustained his injury during the first half of last Sunday's 28-21 loss to the Seahawks. He went 9 of 18 passing for 157 yards that included two touchdown passes to Deebo Samuel.
"I'm excited to see him play," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Friday. "I know he's got the ability to do a lot of things. I know it's going to be his first time out there for the whole game. ... I don't go into it expecting anything. You try to prepare a guy as good as you can. From our standpoint, I know he's done his part in preparing, and when Sunday comes, that's usually the spot where we get to have fun, cut it loose and live with the results."
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Lance impressed his teammates during his first NFL training camp. He did so well that Shanahan was peppered with questions about when -- not if -- Lance would receive playing time during the regular season.
"You see the raw talent, and you see the ball fly out of his hand. Impressive," 49ers linebacker Fred Warner told NBC Sports Peter King during training camp. "Games will be different. But 11 on 11 out here is still football, and we're seeing a young guy work and be humble and make throws like that. That's what he needs to do."
Lance's first start will come against the league's last undefeated team. He will face a Cardinals defense that is currently ninth in the NFL in scoring, 11th in passing, and sixth in third-down efficiency. Arizona's defense is 26th in the league against the run, however, which could lead to more opportunities for 49ers running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon.
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