Backup quarterback controversy?
That’s what the 49ers find themselves with after Nick Mullens’ stinker on Sunday, that saw him get benched late for C.J. Beathard, who looked impressive, going 9-for-11 on a TD drive upon entering.
Now there’s a question of who will start on Sunday vs. the Dolphins. If Garoppolo can return the answer will be obvious, but that remains uncertain. Mullens won the backup job two years ago with a string of impressive starts, but that was after Beathard was given a first crack and took such consistent beating he was sidelined.
49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco believes Mullens has played well enough in his 49ers career to have earned another chance this week should Garoppolo be unable to go, but that Kyle Shanahan is probably conflicted.
“My thought would be that he wouldn’t pull the plug on Nick Mullens so quickly, but my confidence level on that isn’t substantially high,” Maiocco told Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Monday. “I do think that in the back of Kyle Shanahan’s mind, maybe even in the front, I think he believes C.J. Beathard is a better quarterback than Nick Mullens.
“I think he feels that maybe Beathard has a stronger arm and can use more of the field than Mullens does, but there’s also what everybody has seen in games which was in 2018, Beathard was good in spurts, but when things started going downhill they really went downhill. Mullens came in with zero expectations and I think at that point the 49ers were thinking ‘let’s just play Mullens for a few games, let C.J. heal up a little bit, prevent him from taking his weekly beating and then get him back in there.’ Nick played so well that opportunity never came about. Up until (Sunday) night he’s basically done everything asked of him and then some.
“My thought is that Mullens will continue to be the quarterback but I also think if that’s the case on Sunday against the Dolphins, you’ll see a much quicker trigger if Mullens starts off cold.”
Listen to the full interview below.