Sam Darnold’s upcoming 49ers preseason reps excites Shanahan

Sam Darnold’s upcoming 49ers preseason reps excites Shanahan originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

HENDERSON, Nev. — It’s not quite there for veteran quarterback Sam Darnold, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan sees steady progress.

“I think Sam’s gotten better each practice,” Shanahan said Thursday after the first of two joint practices between the 49ers and the Las Vegas Raiders.

“It’s his first time in this offense, and I’ve been really encouraged with just how he spits the plays out, how he can call them, where he is now compared to the first couple of days.”

There is no denying Darnold’s physical ability, which led to him being the New York Jets‘ No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

But the production was lacking in his three seasons with the Jets and two years with the Carolina Panthers.

Darnold threw 55 interceptions in 56 career games (55 starts) over his first five NFL seasons and has a career passer rating of 78.2.

Darnold is competing with Trey Lance for the 49ers backup job behind starter Brock Purdy. He took just nine snaps of 11-on-11 work Thursday against the Raiders, completing one of three pass attempts.

Lance had a strong day of work and finished practice with a solid two-minute drill.

This is Lance’s third 49ers training camp, and he appears more comfortable and decisive with his reads than Darnold at this stage.

RELATED: Lance addresses bond with Darnold, 49ers QBs

Darnold is likely to take more of the snaps at practice on Friday and figures to see significant playing time in the preseason opener against the Raiders on Sunday.

“He doesn’t seem like it’s his first time going through it,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting better each week, getting more comfortable, and I’m excited to see him in some of these games.”

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