The San Francisco 49ers are sticking with C.J. Beathard as their starting quarterback this week, giving him his first shot against their division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. Beathard is coming off his best performance of the season in the 49ers Week 10 win over the New York Giants.
Naturally, there is a lot of back and forth as to who should start. If the 49ers think Garoppolo is the future, do they get him out there now to begin the assessment, or do they wait and improve the talent around him? Even if Beathard is not the future, would benching him after a strong performance go over well in the locker room?
I don’t know exactly how much to make of the locker room side of things, but Kyle Shanahan did acknowledge Beathard’s growing respect did factor into the situation. And it’s not like they invested nothing in Beathard and should just kick him to the curb. You do want to know what he can do as someone who might need to fill in for Garoppolo on some occasions.
I kind of like the idea of seeing how he builds or does not build on his big game against the Giants. Does he make more improvements against a Seahawks defense that is considerably better, even with the injuries? If he does not, then the decision to move on to Garoppolo becomes that much easier. If Beathard does put together another solid performance, having the potential for two decent quarterbacks on the roster is not the worst thing in the world.
Both quarterbacks met with the media after practice. Here are their transcripts.
QB C.J. Beathard
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Are you surprised at all that you’re continuing to start?
“No, I wasn’t surprised. I was just going about my business like normal. Same way I’ve been doing. I trust the coaches’ decision, whatever they decide to do.”
Do you feel like your performance against the New York Giants cemented the decision?
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the coaches about that. It was a good game all around. I think we played good offensively, defensively and special teams. Got our first win so it definitely helped.”
How much are you able to get more plays in every week and expand the offense every week?
“Being a rookie in an NFL offense the first year starting, the more you play the more your playbook expands a little bit and the more things you can do. This will be my fifth start and I think I can handle a little bit more week in and week out. I think coach knows that as well.”
How’s your thumb?
“Good. It’s alright.”
Is there a sense for you that ‘Hey I’m a third-round draft pick on this team too and I’m going to get better every start. I kind of earned this thing after what I did the last time out?’
“Yeah. There’s definitely a sense like that. I think sometimes people forget at the end of the day I’m still a rookie. I’m going out there and doing the best I can every day and getting better. There’s going to be mistakes. There’s going to be things I learn from, as is any player or any rookie out there. I think that each week I’ve gotten better, at least I feel better about the offense and things I’ve learned from games and experiences.”
That thing they say about the game slowing down, is that actually happening for you now? When you get a chance to go out there and see it all and know the terminology and all that?
“Yeah, definitely. The biggest thing is the terminology is really slowing down for me. The play calls, it’s easier to call the plays and envision them in my head and then go out and execute.”
You’ve gotten an extra week to watch the Seahawks defense on film. Do you know their defense maybe better than any other defense now?
“It’s our second time playing them this year. They’ve got a really good defense. They’ve got a lot of good players back there. Obviously, I think we’ve got a good game plan going into it. But, it’s all about executing and making the plays that we can make.”
Were you able to clear your head during the break or did you find yourself thinking a lot about ‘Will I be starting or will Jimmy be starting?’
“No, I didn’t think about that at all. It was nice to get a break, clear my head. I got back to Iowa, got to watch a game as a fan and some games as a fan over the weekend. It was fun.”
What was that like going back there? Do they know you a little bit better now?
“Yeah, I think so. It was just good to see some of the players that I played with and the coaching staff. The fans are great. The best fans in the country are at Iowa. It was great getting back.”
Are there some 49er fans there now?
“Definitely. There really are. I saw a lot more than I’ve ever seen out there.”
Nice to go back a winner?
“Definitely. It was huge to get that win last week, go into the Bye a little more relaxed and enjoy it a little bit more.”
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
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“I got to see a little bit of it, yeah. They played really well.”
What was the Bye week like for you? Obviously not as much time off as other guys might have.
“It was a bit like training camp. Just putting in the time trying to get as much as I can down. It’s a grind right now, but things are coming together.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was saying that this was kind of the opportunity to get you a foundation, a baseline. How much do you think that can help accelerate since you seemed like you had to work it in backwards a little bit?
“It’s kind of one of those things where you’re calling certain plays and hearing things, but when we got to really sit down, me and [quarterbacks coach] Rich [Scangarello], he did a great job with me explaining the finer details, the basics of the offense. It really helped a ton.”
How do you balance your eagerness to play with understanding that it’s a process and it’s going to take a lot to have a good understanding of this offense?
“The competitor in me, obviously you want to get out there, play with your teammates and help the team win. But, it’s a tough situation coming in midway through the season. It’s going to be a process, but we’ll get there.”
What are your expectations with six weeks to go in the season?
“To learn as much as I can as fast as I can, really.”
You expect to be out on the field at some point though, don’t you?
“Whatever coach has planned for me. It’s his call. We’ll take it step by step.”
If you had to play this week, how comfortable would you feel in the system?
“I’m getting to where I want to be. Like I said before, it’s a process. Things are starting to come together. Some of the smaller, finer details are becoming more clear to me. It’s just going to take time.”
What is the biggest challenge? Is it verbiage? Is it motions and sets? What is it?
“It’s a little bit of everything. Some plays you go out there and you feel 100-percent comfortable with it, you know exactly what’s going on, and other plays not so much. Just trying to get as comfortable as possible as fast as I can.”
General manager John Lynch was saying the Patriots system is pretty unique. The pass concepts are somewhat similar, but it’s the languages that are very unique. Is that accurate at all?
“It’s just different. Any offense, I’ve only been in two offenses now, but every offense has its own little twists and little things that are unique to it. New England had certain things that I was just used to. After three and a half years of being there you get comfortable with it. You feel like you mastered the language that they had. It’s just trying to pick it up as fast as I can here now.”
Did you get a break the last few days though over the weekend? You’ve been buried in that playbook for three weeks. Did you look at something besides X’s and O’s?
“Not much. Honestly. I watched a little bit of football on Sunday. I got to relax for a little bit, but that was about it.”
When you were in school, did you ever learn a foreign language?
“I tried. I don’t think it ever went very successfully.”
Never very good at it?
How’s that compared to learning Kyle’s language?
“Not very similar. Football is X’s and O’s. This word means four different guys are doing different things on it. Some words tell all 11 guys. It’s coming along, but it’s a process.”
What are your thoughts on how QB C.J. Beathard played against the New York Giants?
“I thought he played well. The offense as a whole. I’ve only been here for a couple weeks, but I think they played well. The deep ball to [WR] Marquise [Goodwin], that was a heck of a play.”
You’re obviously from Chicago. You have no control over this, but would it be meaningful to start a game in Chicago?
“It’s going to be cool. I’ve never gotten to go back there and play. When I was in New England, a couple times the Bears came out to us. That’d be cool getting back to the hometown and everything.”
Would you like to start that game?
“We’ll see what happens.”