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49ers 2022 NFL preview, schedule: Trey Lance has San Francisco dreaming of another Super Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers have pinned their hopes on young quarterback Trey Lance to lead them to a sixth Super Bowl title.

Trey Lance has 49ers dreaming of another Super Bowl
Carmen MandatoAFP

A new era has begun in San Francisco: the Trey Lance era. The second-year quarterback and third overall pick in the 2021 Draft has been installed as the new starting quarterback for the 49ers, who have decided to dispense with the services of Jimmy Garoppolo despite a run to the Super Bowl three years ago.

Lance didn’t perform spectacularly in preseason, going 11-for-16 for 141 passing yards and a touchdown. In addition, he was sacked twice and rushed once for eight yards.

49ers offensive line needs work

The offensive line also didn’t look good without All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who was rested for all three exhibition games.

The left guard position is an issue that coach Mike Shanahan and his staff will have to resolve before the season starts. Aaron Banks (a 2021 second-round pick) hasn’t been consistent, and rookie Jason Poe has put pressure on him.

Jake Brendel had to fill in for the injured Daniel Brunskill at center, but he has only three NFL starts to his name in seven years as a pro.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey injured his knee, but the team is confident he will be fit when the regular season begins. Rookie Spencer Burford is projected to be the starting right guard.

Shanahan needs strength on the offensive line so his inexperienced quarterback can quickly adjust to the transition and the 49ers can compete in the NFC West, which includes Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals, who also made the playoffs last season.

Led by Garoppolo, a powerful running game and a solid defense, the Niners advanced to the NFC Championship Game last season and went blow for blow with the Rams. But Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch have decided it was time to move Jimmy G on and hand the responsibility to Lance.

Garoppolo is recovering from shoulder surgery and remains on the 49ers roster for the time being.

49ers running game offers hope

The backfield goes into the 2022 campaign as one of the best in the league, with Elijah Mitchell as the stand-out performer.

Mitchell was second among rookies last season with 963 rushing yards and became the fourth rookie since 1990 to post at least 100 rushing yards in five of his first 10 NFL games.

Deebo Samuel got his coveted contract extension and with it the Niners have retained one of the most dynamic wide receivers in the league.

Samuel was third in the NFL last season with 1,770 combined yards and is the only player in history with at least 1,400 receiving yards and 300 rushing yards in a single season.

He had eight rushing touchdowns, the most by a wide receiver in a season.

In addition, Lance will have George Kittle at his disposal, fourth among tight ends with 910 yards and fifth with 71 receptions in 2021.49ers bank on defense

Bosa, Warner provide defensive guarantees

Back on defense are the two leaders of a unit that was second in the NFC last season, allowing an average of 310 yards per game, and fourth with 48 quarterback sacks.

Nick Bosa co-led the league with 21 tackles for loss and was fourth with 15.5 sacks.

Meanwhile, linebacker Fred Warner led the team with a career-high 137 tackles, becoming the fourth player in history with at least 115 since the 2018 season.

The 49ers have lost cornerback K’Waun Williams, but in free agency signed Charvarius Ward whose aggressive style fits perfectly with the DNA of this defense.

Emmanuel Moseley will play on the opposite side, and the team hopes the sophomore can stay healthy after a rookie season in which he missed six games due to injuries.

Safety Jimmie Ward (hamstring) will start the season on the injured list and will miss the first four games.

The 49ers have everything in place to be an NFC contender - except experience at quarterback. If Lance doesn’t give games away and is able to move on offense, San Francisco could be in a position to win the Super Bowl for the first time since 1994.

San Francisco 49ers

Record in 2021: 10-7

Stadium: Levi’s Stadium

Super Bowl titles: 5

Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan

Offensive Coordinator: Kyle Shanahan

Defensive Coordinator: DeMeco Ryans

49ers 2022 schedule

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
at ChicagoSeattleat DenverL.A. Ramsat Carolina
Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10
at AtlantaKansas Cityat L.A. RamsBYEL.A. Chargers
Week 11Week 12Week 13Week 14Week 15
Arizona (in Mexico)New OrleansMiamiTampa Bayat Seattle
Week 16Week 17Week 18
Washingtonat Las VegasArizona