Trey Lance Tops 49 Players To Watch In 2023 NFL Preseason Finals vs. Chargers – NBC Sports Bay Area vs California

All eyes will be on Trey Lance when the 49ers play their final game of the pre-season.

On Wednesday morning, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told Lance he didn’t win the contest against Sam Darnold to be the No. 2 quarterback on the team.

Lance is excused from training that day to control his impulses. He returned to the team on Thursday.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said in separate interviews on KNBR that Lance will play Friday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Maintaining the depth chart, the 49ers plan to go with Lance after starter Brock Purdy and Darnold get their allotted playing time.

Then Lance will take the field.

You can expect the crowd at Levi’s Stadium to be supportive. Lance received a standing ovation a week ago when he was coming off a shaky performance in the season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The most likely scenario, according to Lynch, is for Lance to stay on the team this season. It is available to any team in the trade.

But it’s hard to believe any team would forgo so much compensation and be willing to pick up their contract, which consists of a fully guaranteed salary of $5.31 million for the 2024 season.

Yes, all eyes will be on Lance from the moment he arrives on the court in the late afternoon.

At this point, there is a possibility that this will be the last time he will take the field to the team that was traded to his #3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Here are some other players to watch for the 49ers on Friday night:

99- DT Javon Kinlaw

Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw missed last week’s game due to illness. He’s back in training and will get plenty of playing time to prepare for a reserve role in the regular season.

Kinlaw is in line to serve as part of the team’s defensive line rotation behind starters Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead. He has to show that he can lock in the middle of the line on the base touchdown and tie down offensive linemen in order to allow linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw to make their stops.

95-D Drake Jackson

As long as Nick Bosa is out of the picture in a holding zone, the 49ers have problems rushing outside passes.

This is where Jackson comes in. He is significantly stronger and better equipped to handle the rigors of the NFL season. Returning from a hamstring condition, Jackson should take a significant step forward as a rookie this season after recording three sacks in 15 games as a starter.

13- QB Brooke Purdy

There was never a question of who the 49ers’ starting quarterback was after all-out Brock Purdy was cleared for workouts at the start of training camp.

However, the 49ers would like to get Purdy on the field Friday night in order to shake off a little rust and experience a game-like environment before he hits the field for the season opener on Sunday, September 10, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

84-WR Anthony Miller

The 49ers signed veteran receiver Anthony Miller during the week. He’s participated in two training sessions, and now he’ll get a chance to show what he can do in a game.

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The team loved Miller when he was coming out in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was a second-round pick for the Chicago Bears and caught 140 passes for 1,564 yards and 11 touchdowns before injuries plagued him the past two seasons.

Our best guess is that the 49ers retain six wide receivers in their starting 53-man roster: Debo Samuel, Brandon Ayuk, Joanne Jennings, Ronnie Bell, Ray McCloud and Danny Gray.

After that, Gray could go to injured reserve, which opens the door for the team to return the veteran receiver to a spot on the roster. Miller will take on Chris Conley and Willie Snead over this potential spot.

81-TE Cameron Lato

A tough training camp got a lot better for rookie Cameron Lato last week.

Now, if he is to secure a place in the squad, Latu must continue to make progress into the final pre-season match.

He’s getting more comfortable with his responsibilities and that showed last week against the Broncos. After struggling with dropped passes, Latu made some great shots, including a 22-yard touchdown reception from Lance late in the game.

93-Dt Kalea Davis

The 49ers selected Kalea Davis in the 2022 NFL Draft despite knowing he would not be physically ready for his rookie season due to a torn ACL.

Davis did not play in the 49ers’ first two preseason games due to a hamstring injury. He should get plenty of playing time against the Chargers to show what he can do in his first game since becoming a member of the 49ers.

10- K Zane Gonzalez

Things got even more interesting Friday with the news that rookie kicker Jake Moody suffered a quadruple strain and will not be available to kick in the pre-season finals.

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That means veteran kicker Zane Gonzalez will get all the action on Friday night.

The 49ers list Moody as an “everyday,” so a decision must be made as to whether insurance is needed as the regular season opener approaches.

Gonzalez appeared in 63 games during his five-year NFL career. He made 91 of 113 field goal attempts (80.5 percent) with 57 yards. Gonzalez missed the entirety of last season with a groin injury.

2- Cb Demodore Lenoir

Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir entered this summer with the starting spot wrapped up after finishing well last season.

Now, the 49ers are considering adding more to their plate. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilkes decided two weeks ago to try Lenoir at the nickel linebacker position.

Lenoir plays outside on a down base, then can switch inside to cover the hole when the opponent wants to go up with three receivers.

Wilkes said the team did not favor Isaiah Oliver as a potential fullback. They just want to see all of their options with different matching possibilities.

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