Trey Lance will play a vital role for the San Francisco 49ers this week as they prepare to face the Green Bay Packers. The rookie quarterback is tasked with being Aaron Rodgers for the scout team in practices this week.
"We need Trey to be very aggressive, let it rip," coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "Hopefully if he does make some mistakes in practice, our defense will catch it and make him pay. But we need him to be aggressive in everything he does because Aaron doesn't miss many of those opportunities when they're presented to him."
With Jimmy Garoppolo set to play through a shoulder injury Saturday against Green Bay, the Niners are asking Lance to be Rodgers as the defense prepares for the presumptive NFL MVP.
"Aaron does a real good job of not making bad decisions and not turning the ball over," Shanahan said. "But he also makes all the plays down the field wherever you're off just a hair."
Lance has spent time during his rookie campaign attempting to imitate different quarterbacks during practice, from Kyler Murray to Kirk Cousins and now Rodgers. The rookie has said there is a benefit in his development from studying other quarterbacks in his practice role.
The 49ers' defense isn't expecting Lance to be as impeccable as Rodgers in practice, but his ability to make off-schedule plays can help them prepare nonetheless.
"It'd be a tall task to tell Trey to go be Aaron Rodgers for three days before we head out there," linebacker Fred Warner said. "I know Trey has been doing an outstanding job this year, and I know he'll continue to do a great job this week.
"It's one of those situations where you don't really feel Aaron Rodgers until you're out there against the man himself. You can watch all the tape you want, think you've got him figured out. But you've got into the game and get into the flow of things to really get things going."
Rodgers has a 104.7 career passer rating in 12 starts against the 49ers, the highest passer rating as a starter by any QB (including playoffs) versus San Francisco all-time (min. 10 starts).
The Niners beat Rodgers' Packers in their last postseason matchup in the 2019 NFC Championship Game, whipping Green Bay 37-20, in a game in which the QB threw for 326 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. The All-Pro signal-caller led a last-second comeback against San Francisco in Week 3, needing just 37 seconds to get into field-goal range for the game-winner.
"Every game is its own game and each year and each situation, each team is different," Shanahan said. "Everyone knows Aaron's the man. But this doesn't have to do with the last time we met in the playoffs and it doesn't have to do with our game earlier this year. It's one game, it's going to be on Saturday, it's three-and-a-half hours and it's this team right now versus their team.
"It's going to be as simple as that."