Dak Prescott says Trey Lance has been helpful in the Cowboys’ preparation for Sunday’s game against the 49ers, whose general manager John Lynch downplays that aspect
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Trey Lance says he’s excited to spill company secrets ahead of Sunday night’s return to Levi’s Stadium, six weeks after the 49ers traded him to NFC rival Dallas Cowboys.
Cowboys starter Dak Prescott says debriefing Lance, a third-string understudy, has been “very helpful, honestly.”
The 49ers aren’t worried.
“I mean, this isn’t the Houston Astros over there banging a drum for a fastball or a curveball,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said on KNBR 680-AM on Friday, referring to the Astros’ 2017 cheating scandal.
“He can’t do that over there,” Lynch remarked of Lance. “Everything is now done through the headset. Back in the day, when coordinators actually used to signal things in, you could glean some information, and people did, one organization in particular.”
Lynch was not so subtly referring to his days as a member of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their Super Bowl victory over the Raiders, who, according to legend, did not change their offensive signals despite the fact that their ex-coach was the Bucs’ Jon Gruden.
Lynch did admit that Lance is “more privy” to the 49ers’ scheme thoughts as a quarterback, “but I don’t think there’s a whole lot,” and that the best intelligence may be on specific individuals. That is also what the 49ers have asked cornerback Anthony Brown, who joined them last month after spending the previous seven seasons with the Cowboys.
“Aside from a code word here and there,” Lynch said of Lance’s potential insider trading knowledge: “It’s not something we’re worried about.”
Coach Kyle Shanahan expressed a similar sentiment earlier this week, saying he hoped Lance talked so much during the week “and making them focus totally on that instead of the simple stuff of watching the tape.”
Prior to their preseason finale on August 25, the 49ers traded Lance for a fourth-round draft pick. Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, spent two seasons with the 49ers, where his role was limited by injuries (finger, knee, ankle) and an inability to climb the depth chart, where he was stuck behind Jimmy Garoppolo as a rookie and then unable to beat out Sam Darnold this offseason to serve as Brock Purdy’s backup.
“I’m doing everything I can to help,” Lance said of this week’s preparations to DallasCowboys.com. “But at the same time, these guys have done a lot of prep on the Niners with those big games the last two years, so they know a lot about the offense.”
With Lance on the sidelines, the 49ers defeated the Cowboys in the wild-card playoffs in 2021 (23-17) and the divisional round last season (19-12).
“But, I mean, I’m here now so I’m doing everything I can to try and help,” he said. “Any time I can have a bigger role to help the team, help Dak out, it’s exciting for sure.”
“He’s been very helpful, honestly,” Prescott said, according to the Cowboys’ website. “Just in terms of how their defense can move and the decisions they may have to make if we put them in certain positions.” Things you see on film, but he’s been very helpful in getting some definitive answers from him on how they did things.”
End of the defensive line What insight the Cowboys can glean from their previous two playoff matchups or this season’s game film has been somewhat dismissed by Nick Bosa; the 49ers are 4-0, the Cowboys 3-1.
“We have an idea of what we’re going to do, and they have Trey, so I’m sure they have an idea,” Bosa told reporters. “The NFL is a copycat league and everybody knows pretty much about everything.”
“They (the 49ers) already know everything,” Brown, the former Cowboys cornerback, added. They (the Cowboys) have defeated us twice in the last two years. Simply continue doing what you’ve been doing.”
Charvarius Ward has no ill will toward the Cowboys after they traded him to the Chiefs as an undrafted rookie just before the 2018 season. “It was a great trade for the Chiefs, and not so good for the Cowboys,” said Ward. “Have a grudge?” I won a Super Bowl in Kansas City, played well there, and got a great contract here in San Francisco, so I’m pleased with how my career has progressed.”
Ward responded to the question of whether the 49ers-Cowboys rivalry creates animosity between the two teams, saying, “Probably for them.” We’re not interested. We won (the previous season’s playoff matchup). We’re fine.”
Purdy has proven to be an excellent quarterback for the 49ers. Except for the NFC Championship Game, which the Eagles won and injured Purdy’s elbow, he has not lost since replacing Garoppolo on Dec. 4. The 49ers are attempting to win their 15th consecutive regular-season game on Sunday night.
“This isn’t a one-hit wonder. “It’s consistency,” Lynch said of Purdy to KNBR. “He’s a machine, and he’s only getting better.” That’s exciting for us, and he handles it all so well.
“What a godsend he was to this organization.”