By Max Weisman
Steve Young has a pretty good idea what Trey Lance is going through.
The 49ers legend felt the pressure when he became the replacement for four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana in San Francisco — and now Lance is taking over a team with championship expectations.
Lance was handed the 49ers’ starting job this offseason as the team looked to divorce itself from Jimmy Garoppolo — who was under center for a team that made it to the NFC Championship last year. With Garoppolo returning to San Francisco as the backup in an uneasy situation, it’s not any easier for Lance to take the reins.
“Let’s not dance around the truth. Trey’s got a nearly impossible job,” Young told the San Francisco Chronicle. “How many bodies have broken trying to do that? Death or glory, right?”
Lance certainly has the team to make it back. The 49ers’ 2022 roster is mostly the same as last year, with San Francisco having locked in star wide receiver Deebo Samuel with a massive three-year 71.55 million dollar contract and boasting a potentially dominant defense.
According to Young, who won three Super Bowls of his own during his 15-year Hall-of-Fame career, it’s on Lance to not impede the team that selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“This job has always been a Super Bowl-or-bust job,” Young said. “Let’s admit it. It’s a high-wire act for anybody. Trey’s goal right now is not to hold the team back.”
The 22-year-old didn’t get off to a great start in Week 1. Against the Bears in Chicago in a torrential downpour, Lance went 13 for 28 with 164 yards and an interception. The Niners lost 19-10.
He has an opportunity to silence the critics with a good performance at home against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but if there’s another poor performance could show what length of leash the 49ers have him on with Garoppolo available.