There’s been ups and downs for San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard. Mostly downs. He was thrust into the starting role in 2017 and somewhat held things together. At least until Jimmy Garoppolo was ready to go. He’s again shoved into a starting role in 2018. He’s the best guy for the job, because there’s no one else available better for the job.
But he is not going to emerge as a QB1, he’s not going to be a savant teams will enter a bidding war to trade for. Beathard is a backup quarterback. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s something that has become apparent.
His limitations were on full display Sunday in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals; 14 for 28, 190 yards. For the full game. He’d have a few hot moments, like chucking it downfield for Marquise Goodwin, but he was dwarfed in the cold segments where he couldn’t trust his receivers and pull the trigger. Beathard held onto the ball far too long in plays where he needed to trust his receivers in stride and throw the ball. Whether this is a mental thing with the turnovers, or just how Beathard is as a quarterback doesn’t matter. He’s had a year to get things ironed out, but these issues still remain.
These are throws Garoppolo could and would make. That’s why he’s the starting quarterback. And Beathard isn’t going to turn into Garoppolo. Beathard is the backup quarterback for a reason, and it’s the reasons above. A lot of this is plain ability and talent; if he was playing lights out for two seasons, we’d be having a very different conversation.
He’s a backup. His job is to help out at meetings and step in when the starting quarterback is down. If anything the last few weeks has shown us, it’s that his role is almost solidified in the team. He knows Kyle Shanahan’s offense, he can take over midway or for an entire game, but asking him to be consistent week in and week out like the starter can is just something that isn’t possible. If it was, he’d be in a Nick Foles situation where the 49ers would be looking to trade, or be faced to pay him more money later on.
There’s no one better to put in there either. Tom Savage is an even worse option and Nick Mullens? No. Just no. Beathard knows the offense, he probably contributes in the meeting rooms, and is doing the best he can with the tools he has. He was placed into an unfortunate situation where the talent around him, while improved, is still not where it needs to be and his limited ability cannot raise them the way Garoppolo can. Again, you saw why Garoppolo is the starter last season.
CJ Beathard is not a bad quarterback. He’s a backup quarterback. And he’s playing far more than any backup quarterback should. We knew that going in. You want a bad quarterback?Go get me Nathan Peterman.