© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Want to hear a great Nick Mullens story? Consult George Kittle.
Last Thursday, after Mullens led the 49ers to a 34-3 win in his first-ever NFL regular season action, Kittle told a couple previously unknown anecdotes on Mullens. One of them: Mullens blasts crowd noise in his headphones whenever he prepares for games. Mullens sheepishly confirmed about 15 minutes later.
On Tuesday, Kittle was at it again.
When asked how Mullens commanded the huddle in his NFL debut, Kittle said the second-year quarterback was “fantastic” — before chuckling.
“He comes across as serious, but sometimes he will talk to Coach Shanahan in his ear,” Kittle said.
“It’s kind of funny. It’s a good huddle. He was really good, took good command over it, and got us a couple laughs. It was awesome.”
Kittle elaborated, saying Mullens told Shanahan to stop talking in the headset when Mullens needed to deliver the play-call. Kittle said it happened on the second play and continued throughout the game. The radio correspondence between coach and quarterback lasts for 25 seconds and cuts off with 15 seconds left on the play clock.
“He was like, ‘Can you just shutup?'” Kittle said about Mullens. “It was so funny because you don’t really see that from Nick. He is literally like the most professional person. Go talk to him, the stereotypical quarterback, I am going to say A,B,C, and seeing that in the huddle was really funny.”
Shortly after Kittle told the story, Mullens was asked about it.
“George talks a lot,” Mullens joked. “No, sometimes in the huddle, you know you hear the play call and you’re ready to repeat it. So yeah, I was just ready to call the play.”
Mullens later complimented Shanahan for anticipating the defense’s play-calls and relaying that to Mullens. Those tips helped the second-year quarterback settle in during his near-perfect NFL debut.
Mullens completed 16 of 22 throws for 262 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions against the Raiders. He joined all-time greats Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least 250 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in their NFL debuts.
In one night, Mullens morphed from obscure practice squad quarterback to a national story on Thursday Night Football. Twitter verified him during the game. He cried after it.
For the vast majority, however, Mullens was his typical calm self as he led the 49ers to their largest victory in more than four years. He put up prolific numbers and did not turn the ball over. One of the most impressive parts of Mullens’ debut: he operated the huddle well, despite never doing so at Southern Mississippi. He ran an up-tempo, no-huddle offense throughout his college career.
“He came in the first drive, and it seemed like he had been in there the whole time,” Kittle said of Mullens. “That’s all on him, the preparation he has done, how he has been ready for it. It was literally like he was in there the whole season.”