What does it mean when your leader isn’t your leader?
The quarterback is usually supposed to be the team’s leader, but perhaps for the San Francisco 49ers, that isn’t the case. Trey Lance is the QB leading this 49ers team into their new generation, but the team may not believe in him just yet.
According to CBS Sports, Trey Lance was not voted as a team captain for the 2022 49ers by his teammates. While head coach Kyle Shanahan tried to offer insight and explanations as to why their new franchise quarterback isn’t a captain, it contradicts Shanahan’s management of the team in the recent past.
Never forget Josh Allen’s message to #49ers QB Trey Lance.
Niner fans are all #BillsMafia fans tonight against The Rams
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) September 8, 2022
When asked if Lance not being named a captain was a “slight” at the former North Dakota State quarterback, Shanahan tried to downplay the situation and offer insight into the voting and how they perceive Lance.
“If you look into it that much, he was seventh in the voting,” Shanahan said of Lance. “I just didn’t want to put seven on there. Deebo [Samuel] was eight. … We just wanted to go with six. They don’t allow eight to the coin toss, I don’t believe.”
CBS reporter John Breech points out that previously the 49ers always had seven captains, and now Shanahan has cut the limit to just six captains.
Also, Shanahan tried to offer some reason why he isn’t surprised that Lance wasn’t selected as a captain, being he is the team’s QB — stating that they still view him as a rookie and that most rookies aren’t captains in year 1.
Kyle Shanahan on KNBR on national-level media saying that Jimmy Garoppolo is back because the 49ers don't believe in Trey Lance:
"It sounds like a fan talking and they have zero idea of what they're talking about. Not to insult a fan or anything."
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) September 9, 2022
“It’s also his first year of starting for us,” Shanahan said. “There’s not many rookies who end up being the captains. I know this is his second year, but he’s a rookie for us in terms of this is his first time being our starting quarterback.”
But in a similar situation, when Jimmy Garoppolo was the Niners’ starting QB in his first full season in San Francisco he was also named a captain.
Meanwhile, Lance himself isn’t taking it too bad, and he’s turning it into motivation for him to be better.
“Obviously, that’s a goal of mine, but I don’t think you can look at any six of those guys and be like, ‘That guy’s a bozo,’ because those guys have all played football at a very, very high level,” Lance said Wednesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “So yeah, situations are different, I’m excited. I voted for every single one of those guys, so I think each and every one of them deserves it. … Being a captain] is definitely a goal of mine moving forward, but those guys have all proved it, and that’s what this league is all about.”
Kyle Shanahan on @KNBR on if 49ers are truly committed to Trey Lance after bringing back Garoppolo, not making Lance a captain.
"Guys, this is Trey's first year starting for us. We were letting go of a $24 million starting quarterback to do that. We got him for a backup price." pic.twitter.com/1kL9s5vIpD
— Jake Hutchinson (@hutchdiesel) September 9, 2022
The Niners already have great defense and offensive weapons to compliment Lance. Now all he has to do is be stellar on the field. It seems easy, but his job isn’t enough for teammates to view him as a leader on this team.
In the past three seasons, a QB has been voted as 1 of the 6 team captains for San Francisco. Trey Lance broke that streak when he wasn’t voted as a captain. The team does the voting, so Lance not making the cut could be a sign that they don’t believe in him or have faith, or, more realistically, they have more confidence in and camaraderie with other veterans on the team. But with the new contract extension they gave Jimmy G, making him the highest-paid backup in the league, they might not entirely be ready to commit to Trey Lance.