The San Francisco 49ers will return home on Sunday to face the Dallas Cowboys, and it will mark the first start of C.J. Beathard’s career. Kyle Shanahan benched Brian Hoyer in the second quarter last weekend against Washington, and Beathard almost brought the 49ers back to victory.
The change in quarterback also means a change in the press conference schedule. The starting quarterback meets with the media on Wednesday, and this week that meant we got to hear from Beathard. He kept things fairly simple, which you can read in the transcript below.
When you went into that game most your friends and family thought you’d be sitting on the sideline. What did your phone look like when you got back into the locker room?
“I got a lot of texts. A lot of positive words from my friends and family. My phone had a lot of texts in it.”
Have you responded to everyone?
“I have. Most everyone, I think, that I can remember.”
When you come into a game like that, are you basically running QB Brian Hoyer’s game plan, a game plan that is crafted for him? Will this week’s be more tailored to your preferences, plays you like, that sort of thing?
“Yeah, I think so. I think that was geared towards Brian and what he does. But, the coaches do a great job putting together a game plan that gives us the best chance to win games. Whether that’s for me or any other quarterback, we’re just trying to do what’s best for us, to give us the best chance, and whatever play calls those are, that’s what I’ll go with.”
How much can a full week of preparation as a starter help you?
“I think it helps a lot. Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”
Is that a big thing for you this week, trying to get that rapport with guys who maybe you haven’t gotten a lot of snaps with?
“Yeah. I think getting timing down with some of those receivers I haven’t thrown to is one of the bigger things right now.”
What’s your intangible quality that helps you be successful as a quarterback?
“I don’t know. I just think I don’t get too high or too low in any situation. I just try to stay pretty mellow because I know the game of football. There’s a lot of ups and downs. You never want to get too mad when you have a bad play or too high when you have a good one. It’s all about staying mellow and staying the same through all of it.”
When a team makes a change like it made mid-season, have you processed yet what this could mean to your future and to your career, how you perform the rest of the year?
“No. I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time. I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”
In the back of your mind though you’re probably aware of what this could potentially mean in the final weeks of the season?
“No, honestly. I’m really just focused on this week.”
In what areas have you improved in the most since you got here in the spring to where you are now?
“I think the biggest thing is just learning the game plan, the playbook and all that kind of stuff. There’s a lot of new words, new terminology for everything. I think that’s the biggest thing right now. I’ve been able to improve on that, more than anything else.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was saying the last couple weeks you’ve really improved in practice. Do you think it’s the grasp of the offense that’s made that happen?
“Yeah, I think a lot of it is in scout team stuff, which isn’t even our offense. But, yeah I’ve been able to go out there and kind of sling it around and have fun out there doing it. I think that’s one of the bigger things.”
Any quarterback that you really enjoyed impersonating over the first few weeks?
“No one in specific, no. When we were going against a guy that ran more I tried to run a little bit more. But, I just try to read it out and do the best I can interpreting things.”
Obviously you’re one of the young guys thrust into a pretty major role on this team. Just given where it is, Shanahan talked a little bit about how leadership is created. Is leadership an important thing to you or are you just focused on how you play and that will evolve?
“I think it is. I think guys look up to guys, but when you’re a rookie you don’t have veteran experience that a lot of other guys do. So, I think the big thing is going out there and performing and showing and earning these guys’ respect. Which hopefully I’ve done a little bit of that throughout my team being here. But, I’m just trying to gain more of that respect from all the guys.”
Did your grandpa have any advice or what did he say to you after the game?
“He was really proud of me and just real positive. He couldn’t be more happy for me. He was just really proud.”
You mentioned on Sunday, looking up there and seeing your grandfather’s name and how that was kind of surreal. Is there anything else that hit you about full speed NFL, on the field where you said, oh this is an eye-opener for one reason or another?
“Nothing really specific. Obviously, you’re playing against the best guys in the world out there. Speed is a little bit faster. I’ve been able to go against our guys for the last however many months, so I think that’s kind of acclimated me to that a little bit. But, no. Nothing I can think of.”
What do you think you need to do to show the organization that you’re the quarterback of the future and a franchise guy?
“I’m really not looking that far ahead right now. Like I said, I’m just trying to take it one game, one day at a time and stack blocks, have a good day of practice today and a good one tomorrow and a good game on Sunday as a team and finally hopefully get a win.”
What do you see out of that Dallas defense? I know they don’t do a whole lot, but what’s there to concentrate on?
“They’re really sound in what they do. They’re a good defense. Like I said, they’re sound and well coached. They’ve got good players back there that play the defense well. We’re just going to have to do our best job to get after them in the run game and the pass game.”
A lot of people have commented before the draft and now about your toughness. Is there anything in your background besides playing football that maybe helped you?
“Yeah. I grew up in a big family. Two brothers, two sisters. Me and my brothers were always fighting, wrestling in the yard, playing football in the yard. We’re as competitive as they come. All three of us. I think we got that from my dad and my grandpa. I think that just trickled down to us.”
On Sunday, I forget who did it, but you were pummeled into the ground and a large man landed on top of you. You hopped right up. In those moments, are you conscious of like, I don’t want to show them I’m hurt or were you hurt?
“No. I felt fine after that. There’s some hits that you feel worse than others. That didn’t happen to be one. I didn’t really feel anything.”
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett talked about how he was impressed with you during the combine meetings with you. Anything you remember from meeting with him and the Cowboys?
“Yeah, I remember meeting with them, being in their room with them. They got me on the board and all that kind of stuff. I have a lot of respect for coach Garrett and that organization.”