Let’s clear one thing up first. This is not meant to be breaking news or anything shocking. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is getting questions about Brian Hoyer’s status, and in answering one question, he acknowledged that rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard gets some work with the first team offense at practice. Shanahan said that the starting quarterback generally does not take every single practice rep. So this is not out of the ordinary.
The question came up in regards to Brian Hoyer’s injury last week. He took a tough hit and had to leave the field for one play. Beathard came on and executed a handoff before leaving the field. After the game, Hoyer said he could have stayed in but the ref was quick to say he had to leave the field and get checked out.
Kyle Shanahan has said since the draft that this year is about development for Beathard. He impressed for stretches in the preseason, and did enough there and in training camp to convince the team to cut Matt Barkley.
Through four weeks, the 49ers offense is scuffling along. They had a big second half against the Los Angeles Rams, but otherwise have been wildly inconsistent. Some of that is on receivers dropping the ball, but plenty is on the shoulders of Brian Hoyer. But for the time being, nothing is changing at the position.
There is certainly plenty of chatter calling for a change, but that’s not surprising when the offense is struggling. The most popular player is often the backup quarterback. The 49ers are in a rebuilding process that has pushed off the quarterback decision until next year at the earliest. But how Hoyer and Beathard will fit into that remains to be seen. Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo could very well hit free agency. The 49ers will likely have a lot of options in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Brian Hoyer is not the long-term future, but it’s hard to know exactly where he fits into the scheme of things in 2018. If they sign Kirk Cousins, Hoyer will be gone. But if they spend a high first round pick on a quarterback, do they stick with Hoyer initially, go to Beathard, or just toss the rookie to the wolves? So many decisions to make.