NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams


49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said that QB Trey Lance has improved from his finger injury over the offseason and is participating in OTAs. 

“I can tell you, he got healthy while he was gone,” Shanahan said, via David Bonilla of 49ersWebZone. “He’s come back, and he’s gotten a full week’s worth of work.”

Lance feels that his finger was returning back to normal towards the end of last season but wasn’t at his best at any point during his rookie year. 

“I kind of dealt with my finger throughout the season, so for me, it was kind of getting that back, and getting healthy, and feeling back to myself,” Lance said. “Like, towards the end of the season, I wasn’t the best version of myself overall. It was a long season, a long pre-draft process, of me not being in school. Everyone says it’s going to be, but you don’t really realize it until it happens.”

Lance admitted that he had to learn how to throw without using his index finger. 

“And I think the finger, for me, was the biggest thing just as far as throwing the ball. I kind of had to learn to throw the ball differently without kind of using my pointer finger, I guess because of just where it was at throughout the year. But now, I feel like I’m in a great spot, health-wise, and throwing the ball wall, and feeling really good.”

Lance added that his finger never fully straightened in 2021 and it required time to recover. 

“As the season goes on, it kind of starts straightening and straightening more and more, and the swelling goes down. But it’s just a thing that takes time,” Lance said.


Cardinals S Budda Baker said that their goal is to go farther in the playoffs than they reached last season when bounced out during the NFC Wildcard round. 

“For us, we’re trying to get back to way past what we did last year,” Baker said, via Kyle McManaman of Arizona Republic. “We’re taking it one day at a time, one week at a time, and if we can do that, we’ll win. You guys saw us do that the first eight, nine games last year and I felt like guys possibly might have gotten comfortable. A lot of headlines, a lot of wins, and all that type of stuff.”

Baker said that they must avoid listening to the skeptics.

“But it’s up to us as professionals just to ignore the noise and just take it one week at a time. We believe we’re a great football team and this year I think we’re going to be a way better team than last year.”

Baker added that he’s taking a larger role as a leader this season.

“Yeah, I definitely feel like it’s of course on my plate a lot,” Baker said. “A lot of guys feel that. Me being a defensive player, I definitely want to control what I can control and that’s the defense, that’s how they approach each and every play. Whether it’s a D-lineman, a linebacker or a DB, I’m getting on guys. Guys are able to get on me as well.”


Rams HC Sean McVay has been impressed by WR Tutu Atwell as he returns from a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his rookie campaign.

“I think that’s to be determined,” McVay said, via “I’ve been really encouraged with guys who were able to step up last year and play significant roles. But when you look at it, Tutu Atwell’s a guy that got injured. I think he’s looked really good this offseason program up to this point.”

“I still believe Tutu can be that guy,” McVay said. “And DeSean did some really good things for us. I didn’t do a good enough job of getting him involved as much as he could’ve been. But by no means is the book written on Tutu Atwell. He had a shoulder injury. He’s looked really good. He’s done a great job of responding the right way.”

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