Brian Griese joined the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, leaving ESPN to be the team’s quarterbacks coach and working with last year’s No. 3 pick Trey Lance. He was among the assistant coaches who spoke to reporters on Thursday.
“The other day I was trying to think about what I would be doing now if I was still working in television, and I was so grateful to be here,” Griese said. “Let’s just put it that way.
Griese, 47, spent 11 seasons as an NFL quarterback, so he can advise Lance on any challenges he might face in his first season as a starter.
“I think some of the things I’ve been through can be helpful,” Griese said. “Hopefully they can be helpful and hopefully help all of our quarterbacks anticipate how we react to certain situations, both on and off the field.”
How does Griese rate Lance, 22, as the 49ers near the end of their second week of training camp?
“I was really encouraged,” Griese replied. “…He gives himself a chance because he shows up every day and is ready to work. He has a humility that gives him a chance to learn from his mistakes, to grow. I was really encouraged by his behavior, it’s impressive for a young man of his age, it’s not natural.
“So the way he interacts with his team, the way he operates on the pitch, the way he reacts when he makes a mistake, all of those things are very, very positive in addition to his physical abilities, which are important. .”
Veteran tackle Trent Williams said something similar this week when praising Lance.
“He gives everyone confidence,” Williams explained. “He gives everyone confidence in his abilities and his composure, the way he commands the caucus. I say all the time that I’m impressed that he [doesn’t] make the same mistake twice, and I think, from a young quarterback, that’s all you can ask for because they’re going to make mistakes, and that’s part of the learning curve.”
Griese admits he won’t be able to fully assess Lance until the quarterback comes into games and begins to gain much-needed experience. However, Griese sees the same traits discussed by Williams.
“I think his behavior has been really impressive in that he’s able to compartmentalize his work,” Griese said, “his role, his understanding, mentally what he’s collectively responsible for as a team leader. and the offense, what he’s responsible for. And having the right communication timing, when to talk to someone, when to encourage, when to slow things down, when to pick things up. You really are a manager not only of the game but also people.
“For someone his age, 22, he doesn’t have it. We keep growing with that, but he has a base and a base which I think is really impressive. And the relationships he has in the locker room is what allows him to do that. … He has a proper understanding of timing and moments. He doesn’t go too low, doesn’t go too high. It’s kind of cool to see.
Lance had his ups and downs during training camp. However, several players were quick to note that the young quarterback faces a tough task, training against one of the best defensive units in the league. This should help speed up the learning process as long as that understanding is there.
“It can’t be much more difficult, but you also want to build skills and some confidence,” Griese admitted with a laugh. “But I think he understands the position we’re in. I think he understands it’s a great opportunity to grow and to do that against some of the best in the league.”
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