Lance meets Shanahan’s approval during training camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
SANTA CLARA — In the middle of 49ers practice on Saturday when a period was devoted exclusively to special teams, quarterbacks Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld moved to a side field to continue their work.
It might have been a break in practice for the offense and defense, but the fine-tuning continued for the quarterbacks and some of the team’s young wide receivers.
At one point, Lance expressed exactly what he wanted to see from rookie wideout Danny Gray. The timing and intricacies of the route were off, and he gestured from afar what he expected.
Then, Sudfeld jogged out to further explain to Gray the design and concept of the particular play.
Coach Kyle Shanahan finds little as useless as statistics during training camp. And Lance’s two interceptions in camp before Saturday’s practice came on plays Shanahan did not blame on the young quarterback.
“I was very happy with the throws,” Shanahan said. “It’s something we got to get on the same page with the wideouts. It’s what camp is for, letting it rip.”
Shanahan said he would much rather Lance unleash the ball without hesitation — even if he is throwing to a spot where he has no receiver. If he holds onto the ball in practice or makes up for the receiver’s mistake, it has a greater negative impact, Shanahan said.
“That’s when the guy running the route doesn’t learn, either,” Shanahan said. “So I loved those two decisions.”
On Saturday, Lance completed eight of 15 pass attempts. Linebacker Fred Warner made a leaping, late-practice interception on a ball Lance tried to drop behind his coverage to McCloud.
Lance’s day was highlighted by three impressive completions to Brandon Aiyuk, his offseason workout partner who might make a bid to emerge as Lance’s top target this season.
Lance hit Aiyuk deep down the right side against the coverage of cornerback Charvarius Ward and free safety Jimmie Ward. That combination has been a difficult challenge for the team’s offense.
Charvarius Ward, the 49ers’ top free-agent acquisition, has gotten off to a strong start in camp. He showed another gear to make an interception of Sudfeld on a deep attempt Saturday for Ray-Ray McCloud. The play warranted an enthusiastic hand slap from general manager John Lynch.
Through four days of practice, Lance has completed 24 of 48 passes with three interceptions. Tight end George Kittle has caught seven passes with Aiyuk on the receiving end of five pass completions.
RELATED: Why Bosa is confident Lance is in the ‘best position’ as QB1
All-Pro receiver Deebo Samuel continues to go through conditioning only as the 49ers and his representation continues to negotiate a lucrative, multi-year contract extension.
The 49ers will have their first day off of camp on Sunday. The team returns on Monday for their first padded practice of the summer.
Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast