Former NFL Lineman Ross Tucker Compares San Francisco 49ers Trey Lance Situation to ‘Deflating’ 2005 Buffalo Bills Debacle

The 2022 debut of Trey Lance as the San Francisco 49ers full-time starting quarterback did not go well. The second-year signal-caller was 13-of-28 for 164 yards with an interception. He also took two sacks and ran 13 times for 54 yards. The most important stat was the 49ers’ 19-10 loss to the lowly Chicago Bears.

As many predicted, a poor performance by Lance — even in a monsoon — is leading to the calls for backup (and last year’s NFC Championship Game starter) Jimmy Garoppolo to grow louder.

On the Dan Patrick Show on Monday, the host talked of dissension in the locker room, and Tucker knew precisely what the 49ers are going through. That’s because the five-year NFL vet went through the exact same thing with the Buffalo Bills in 2005, and the results were disastrous.

Ross Tucker compares 49ers situation to the 2005 Buffalo Bills Debacle

After Trey Lance’s poor performance on Sunday, the hot-button topic around the San Francisco 49ers is, how close is Kyle Shanahan and the team to benching Lance and going back to last season’s starter, Jimmy Garoppolo?

On Monday, former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker — now a popular NFL analyst and commentator — joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss the week in the NFL. When talk turned to 49ers and Lance, the former lineman said the team needs to give him “at least six weeks.”

Tucker also noted, Lance “only played one year of FCS football” before the Niners drafted him and that his first game was in “an absolute monsoon.”

All that said, the former guard knows what the 49ers’ locker room is going through. That’s because he faced the same issues in the early 2000s with the Buffalo Bills. Tucker told Dan Patrick:

After the ’04 season in Buffalo, where we went 9-2 in our last 11 games, or whatever, we were really excited going into the next season. They either cut or traded Bledsoe … and I remember calling some of the veterans, some of the other starters on the offensive line, and they were like, ‘That’s it. I’m not going up there once all offseason.’ They moved on from Bledsoe to go with J.P. Losman, and it was so deflating, Dan. It was like, we had a chance to make a run and go to the playoffs, and ya just knew you just weren’t going to be as good with J.P.

Ross Tucker on the ‘Dan Patrick Show’

To clean up Tucker’s recollection, the Bills went 9-3 in their last 12 (or 8-2 in their last 10), and the Bills cut Drew Bledsoe during the 2005 offseason. What he did get right is that the next season was bad. The 2005 Bills went 5-11, and Losman was 1-7 as a starter.

Even with the slightly sketchy details, the sentiment behind Tucker’s story is telling.

‘Sources’ tell Dan Patrick the locker room isn’t fully behind Trey Lance

(L-R) 49ers QB Trey Lance in 2022; Bills QB J.P. Losman in 2006.
(L-R) Trey Lance, J.P. Losman | Michael Reaves/Getty Images; Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Along with Ross Tucker’s Buffalo Bills story, Dan Patrick shared some damning info of his own during the conversation.

The former SportsCenter host told his guest that “sources” told him that “there are veterans in [the 49ers] locker room who had to be told, ‘be all in and support Trey Lance,’ because some of those veterans realize … Jimmy Garoppolo will give them a better chance to go further this season.”

Tucker concurred and even went further. The Princeton grad said, “I know Garoppolo’s friends with a lot of those guys. I mean, he hangs out with [Kyle] Juszczyk and [George] Kittle, and those guys.”

The one thing Lance has going for him, other than the higher-up organizational support, is that the 49ers schedule seems to be on the easier side, especially at the outset.

The team plays just six 2021 playoff teams this year (albeit the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals twice). The first six weeks that Tucker mentions include games against the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons.

If Lance can improve through those games, he’ll go into a true test in Week 7 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs with a chance to truly cement the starting role.

If he struggles in Week 2 and looks more like J.P. Losman than Drew Bledsoe vs. the Seattle Seahawks, the calls for Jimmy G will grow deafening.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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