June 20, 2024
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan liked the way Trey Lance finished up during his half of play Sunday against the Raiders in Las Vegas.

Upon further review, the performance of Trey Lance wasn’t all that bad.

That was the message Monday from coach Kyle Shanahan in a conference call with local media one day after the 49ers lost 34-7 to the Raiders in Las Vegas in a preseason game where Lance’s performance was mostly panned despite a decent stat line.

“I thought he played a lot better as it ended,” Shanahan said. “I wish we could have kept him out there a little bit longer but that’s one of the frustrating things about preseason.”

In his first game action since Week 2 of last season, Lance played 27 snaps and was 10-of-15 for 112 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 111.0.

Sam Darnold entered in the third quarter and was 5-of-8 for 84 yards including a 37-yard sideline dime to rookie Ronnie Bell in 19 snaps. Brandon Allen finished up with 14 snaps, going 5-of-8 for 36 yards and an interception on a ball that hit Bell in the hands and went straight to a Raiders defender.

Lance was under siege early and was sacked four times, though Shanahan absolved the quarterback of blame in the first two losses of yardage. Shanahan conceded that Lance could have thrown the ball away on the last two sacks, something Lance said himself afterward.

Shanahan was impressed by two throws in particular, a third-and-10 strike for 17 yards to Chris Conley to the Raiders’ 48 and a 22-yard completion to tight end Troy Fumagalli that helped set up a 40-yard missed field goal attempt by Jake Moody at the halftime gun.

Lance’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Ross Dwelley for the 49ers’ lone touchdown took a fortuitous bounce after it was deflected by Jason Shelley. It was intended for Conley in the back of the end zone, and Shanahan liked Lance’s decisiveness even if he missed a defender in coverage.

“What I liked is that he saw a hole and tried to rip it,” Shanahan said. “There was some guy coming from the back side that he didn’t see, but it wasn’t a gun-shy throw. Those are the things you learn from. I kind of like seeing him make that play regardless of the result, and obviously we got a little bit lucky.”

It’s worth noting that while Darnold appears to have taken the lead in the race to be the backup to Brock Purdy, it does Shanahan no good to characterize it as such. Not when there’s a capable fourth quarterback on the roster in Allen and the 49ers would likely be open to dealing Lance should another team come calling on cutdown day with a mid-round draft pick.

All systems are go for Purdy

The kid gloves are off. Purdy, who has stuck to a regimen where he’s thrown for two days and then taken a day off, will be full-go this week, Shanahan said.

“He’ll go three practices in a row this week,” Shanahan said.

Purdy, who spent his offseason rehabbing his right elbow following UCL surgery, has shown his throwing arm is fine but can use the extra work to get up to speed before the 49ers’ opener Sept. 10 in Pittsburgh.

In joint practice sessions with the Raiders, Purdy made some strong throws but also was intercepted each day.

Shanahan has said he’d like to get Purdy some preseason work but that’s no lock. Darnold is expected to start Saturday night against Denver at Levi’s Stadium with Lance backing him up.

49ers place kicker Jake Moody missed from distances of 40 and 58 yards in the preseason opener against the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. A.P. Photo

Moody’s misses

Rookie kicker Moody missed from 40 and 58 yards against the Raiders but didn’t hear a peep about it from his head coach.

“I didn’t talk to him,” Shanahan said. “I don’t try to get involved in that head game. He missed a 58-yarder — I think that’s the first time I ever attempted a 58-yarder so I’m not going to make too big a deal about that.”

As for the shorter attempt before the half, Shanahan said he’s seen Moody bury plenty of 40-yarders in practice.

“We’re not going to go there and ask him a bunch of questions,” Shanahan said. “Usually you’re just going to make something up because sometimes guys miss. I think he’ll be much better next time and like he’s been every other day we’ve been with him.”

Shanahan said he expected Moody as well as Zane Gonzalez to have kicking opportunities against Denver.

Oliver’s debut

Isaiah Oliver has been working with the first team as nickel corner since he arrived as a free agent from Atlanta, so it was at least a minor surprise to see him in the lineup against the Raiders when all starters were rested.

Oliver finished with 19 snaps and one tackle, and isn’t necessarily the presumptive starter following the departure of Jimmie Ward.

“He’s been playing that spot but there’s a lot of competition there,” Shanahan said. “We sat down our outside corners, but we didn’t sit down any nickels. We needed some guys to play because there’s a lot of things we’re still deciding.”

Injury log

The good news was the 49ers had no injuries of note during the loss to the Raiders.

“It was a very bright spot of the week,” Shanahan said. “It’s the No. 1 goal in those preseason games. We didn’t lose anybody in that game.”

Updates were given on the following players:

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— Players who could return this week include edge rusher Robbie Beal, defensive tackle Kalia Davis, wide receiver Danny Gray, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, defensive end Drake Jackson and running back Elijah Mitchell. Tight end George Kittle is expected to miss another week with an adductor strain.

— Linebacker Oren Burks, a candidate to start along with Greenlaw and Fred Warner, had a knee sprain in a collision and will miss some time but is expected back for Week 1. The same goes for safety George Odum (shoulder), who, like Burks, is a core special teams player.

Wide receiver punt return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud (wrist) was originally expected to be out eight weeks. “Ray-Ray keeps telling me don’t count him out,” Shanahan said. McCloud is a candidate to be placed on injured reserve following the roster cutdown to 53.