Why is Brian Griese of the 49ers looking off the field to help Trey Lance?

Brian Griese is the son of a Hall of Fame quarterback, played QB in the NFL for 11 seasons, analyzed QBs as an ESPN broadcaster for 13 years and left the broadcast booth two years ago. months to coach the QBs of the San Francisco 49ers.

His life around the post shed light on the 47-year-old’s perspective. What is the indispensable tool that an NFL QB needs to flourish? The football junkie’s response was surprising as it had so little to do with football.

Last week, after offering a detailed answer ticking off some qualities required to thrive in one of the most difficult, scrutinized and stressful positions in professional sport, Griese smiled.

“I realize that none of those things are on the pitch,” he said. “And that’s intentional.”

Griese is just part of a big team tasked with preparing 22-year-old Trey Lance for his first full season as a starter. The group includes head coach Kyle Shanahan, passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik and QB assistant coach Klay Kubiak, none of whom played a role in the NFL. Shanahan hired Griese in part because he could provide past, endured advice as Lance enters a year full of expectation and pressure.

Unlike Lance, Griese wasn’t a No. 3 pick his team had invested three first-round picks in. But the Broncos’ 1998 third-round pick knows all about playing in the spotlight. In 1999, in his first full season as a starter, Griese replaced future Hall of Famer John Elway on a reigning Super Bowl championship team while continuing to face the blessing and burden of to be the son of Bob, a two-time Super Bowl winner who was already enrolled in Canton.

Griese, who went 4-9 as a starter in 1999, has invested himself in a job that demands so much. Looking back, he wishes he didn’t live and die with every pitch in his early years of a career that included 83 starts (career best: 45-38) with the Broncos, Buccaneers and Bears. He believes he would have benefited from a broader perspective beyond football which could have eased his burden.

That’s why Griese began one of his first meetings with 49ers quarterbacks this spring by asking a series of questions that had nothing to do with three-step drops, formation or coverages. What are the underlying reasons for your existence as a footballer? Why are you submitting to this?

“It’s a very anxiety-provoking and very stressful position,” Griese said. “You are not going to avoid this. You are not going to run away from it. You have to be able to take care of it. And I think you have to have tools in your tool belt to do that. One of them is perspective.

“You’re going to need it when the troubled waters come.” You are 3-5. And everyone tells you you’re no good. You’re going to need something to lean on. And you might not want to be league MVP, or you might want to be a Super Bowl champion. It will be something that will help you in those times. A foundation you can rely on.

What are some of those fundamentals he discussed with Lance, Nate Sudfeld and rookie Brock Purdy?

“Some of the things we talked about had to be part of something bigger than yourself. Humility,” Griese said. “To make your family proud of how you operate every day. To compete and win. Those things are non-negotiable. To be a lifelong learner. To grow. To step out of your comfort zone.

In addition to perspective, Griese thinks relationships are key for NFL QBs. Shanahan called Griese one of the most detailed and organized players he’s ever seen, based in part on their two seasons together at Tampa Bay when Shanahan was quality control coach. However, Griese said learning came at the expense of involving his teammates early in his career.

It’s harder for NFL players to follow a quarterback they don’t fully know. And Griese referenced that when asked what he wanted to understand when, as Lance is now, he entered his second season in 1999.

“Don’t be so careful,” Griese said. “Don’t hang on to every throw. Don’t be so hard on yourself. There were a lot of things that I dealt with. And I really would have benefited from not taking myself so seriously and letting more people know about me, rather than spending so much time in my textbook and memorizing everything.

“At lunchtime, I was going to memorize the whole game plan before practice on Wednesday. And then I would go there. But I didn’t go to lunch with my teammates, I learned that quarterbacks have to do all their work away from the facility – or away from their teammates, when the teammates aren’t there.

Lance was less cautious last week at his first press conference since his buttoned-up rookie season. He joked with reporters and also offered insight into his perspective when asked about the scrutiny he was subjected to, saying he only focused on the opinions of his teammates and coaches .

“Guys love it,” Griese said. “He has great connections. He’s so much better than me. It’s like night and day. He’s kind. And he’s not guarded like I was. You (the journalists) would have me hated.

Griese was also hired for his Xs-and-Os expertise. He and Shanahan share many of the same mentors and their biggest influence is Shanahan’s father, Mike, who served as Griese’s head coach for his first five seasons. In fact, it was Mike Shanahan who told his son that Griese was interested in coaching this offseason. Due to his background, Griese has a deep understanding of the roots and underpinnings of the 49ers offense and how quarterbacks should operate within the system.

“There are things about this offense that I have a unique perspective and story on,” Griese said. “Now there’s been a thousand changes and iterations, which is really cool for me to keep digging deeper. But the fundamentals and the philosophies are there. And it allows me to give our quarterbacks a bit of perspective. . »

Griese, a rookie coach, is an intense competitor determined to excel in his new job. But his heart for service and his desire to help others through pain and hardship also drew him to coaching. His mother, Judi, died when he was 12 of breast cancer. In 2002, Griese opened Judi’s House, which provides emotional support to bereaved children in the Denver area.

He is known for his loss. And professional wrestling. At 47, he knows his purpose. And he wants to help his quarterbacks identify theirs.

“What I’m doing now is trying to build relationships with three young people in our bedroom that are based on honesty, trust and respect,” Griese said. “And I think that’s the coaching. And teach.

Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @Eric_Branch

About Paul Cox

Check Also

Former coaching inn offers individual character and sea views

Nestled in the prestigious Warberries Conservation Area – on one of Torquay’s renowned seven hills …