NFC Notes: 49ers QB Competition, Cardinals, Seahawks


49ers first-round QB Trey Lance has been so good that he’s forced HC Kyle Shanahan to admit publicly there is indeed a competition between the rookie and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo. Perhaps Shanahan is still putting up a front to the media, but he insists to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that he doesn’t necessarily have to choose one starter between Lance and Garoppolo. 

“I think I can ride it out week-in and week-out, personally,” he said. “I think our guys trust us to make the right decision. It’s cool being in a building where no one has an agenda, whether it’s me, the GM, the owner. Everyone’s on the same page, there’s no pressure — ‘Hey, you have to do this or You have to do that.’ And our players know that too, that’s what’s great about our place here. When players know you’re on the same page with the personnel department, with the owner, then they don’t really care. They just want to win.

“And I think when this is all said and done, there’s gonna be two guys they believe will help us win and I think they’ll trust us to make that decision, whether it’s permanently, for one game, for a series or just a situation. We gotta balance that out right, though. It’s tough to do, but it is as easy as ‘How do you win the game?’”

You read that right. Shanahan says quarterback by committee is an option he thinks the 49ers could pull off this year. 

“Yeah, I do,” he continued. “And the hardest thing is articulating it to you guys. Which I get. But I really try to keep as simple as what gives us the best chance right now to win. And I think our players trust that I’m like that. I think our quarterbacks trust that I’m like that. You can disagree, but it’s hard to take it personally when it’s like that. I hope we’ve got the right guys, the right team, and if they both keep getting better; it should be a good problem for me.”

Breer also talked to Garoppolo, who admitted it was tough when the 49ers informed him of their plans at quarterback this offseason. He’s been the quintessential good soldier for the team and is taking the competition in stride, but he admits he considered not taking that route. 

“Oh, no doubt,” Garoppolo said. “Especially when they first told me, you started imagining situations that aren’t even possible. It crossed my mind at one point. But I didn’t want to do that. I like it here. I like the people. I like the teammates that I’m around. It’s kind of where — I don’t want to say it’s where my career started, but as a starter this is where it was. These players, these teammates, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I love these guys.”

  • Barring another team swooping in with a big offer, Breer says the 49ers aren’t likely to trade Garoppolo, as in a worst-case scenario he’s established, proven depth at an important position on what they view as a championship roster. 


The Cardinals just ran out of steam in 2020 after entering the season as a trendy playoff pick and looking like they’d make good on that potential through the first half of the season. The emphasis for Arizona and QB Kyler Murray in 2021 is fixing the little details that let them down last year. 

“Each year, it’s just trying to be better — I’ve never lost this much in my life,” Murray said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “I’m used to winning. I’m used to having those things, the attention to detail, everybody on the same page, that’s just how I was raised and how I was taught to play the game. And I think a lot of our L’s and our issues have been from that, from not being precise on what we’re doing, just being messy…

“Like I said, I’ve never lost this much. So I’ve had to learn how to bounce back and get back going. And Monday once you come back into the building, you got another team that’s hungry. It’s any given Sunday in this league. I tell everybody all the time, this s— is hard. People don’t realize how hard it is. You can’t really look at the schedule like, ‘Oh, that’s a win.’ Everybody’s good. That’s how I see it.”


Seahawks HC Pete Carroll isn’t worried about the team having to practice without S Jamal Adams, who is sitting out of practice while negotiating for a new contract.

“It isn’t different,” Carroll said, via Pro Football Talk, “It’s unique in the dynamic of it — it’s a big deal. We have been through a lot. We’ve had a lot of really high-quality individuals in the program. Guys that we’ve loved, we’ve worked with for a long time. We’ve watched them go through the process of it, and we do have a lot of information about that and we have a lot of experience there, so we try to utilize it and help our guys as they go through it. But for the players going through it, it’s usually their first time, and they have to go through and get a sense of how it’s going, how they’re feeling about it, and figure it out. We have a little more background than the players do so we just have to go through it — we’ve worked very hard to make this work out and we’ll see what happens.”

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King writes that he’s hearing the Seahawks have already stretched themselves a fair amount in contract negotiations with Adams, but he still isn’t ready to sign. 
  • King talked to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson about when cameras caught him glumly watching Tom Brady win the Super Bowl: “I was thinking we’ve been to two, and we need to be at more.”

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