We’re past the midseason mark and still have some football left. It’s time to look at all the 49ers units and discuss what we like and don’t like out of them for 2018.
We’re saving the tight end position for tomorrow because it involves the best performing player on the 49ers roster. It was tempting to save the quarterback position for last given the controversy that can grow from the position, but I decided to throw a curve ball!
The quarterback position has been an issue for nearly 20 years at this point. Jeff Garcia was a solid option, but the team was never fully committed to him long term, and so you could argue the 49ers have been looking for their quarterback of the future since Steve Young’s retirement.
The hope at this point is that Jimmy Garoppolo is that guy. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have hung their hats on him, making it clear they think he is the guy they will build around for years to come. And he might well turn out to be that guy, but given his ACL injury, we can’t say for certainty what to expect heading into 2019. I had high expectations before the injury, so they’ve come back a little — but questions remain.
This year has seen the 49ers play three different quarterbacks. Garoppolo started the first three games, Beathard started the next five, and Mullens is about to start his third straight since taking over for Beathard. At this point, one would likely rank their 2018 performances as Garoppolo, then Mullens, then Beathard. But the real question is what we can take from this year and apply to next year when the team is hopefully in the playoff hunt.
Beathard is only in his second season, so the floor he has shown thus far is not necessarily the end of things for him. It’s hard to see a high ceiling, but he could very well develop a career as a decent backup you’d prefer not seeing a whole lot of. He’s tough as nails and can make some plays, but he’s got a lot of work to do if he wants to progress beyond an adequate reserve.
Mullens is in his second season and has had a solid start to it. He had statistically the best debut by an NFL quarterback, and followed that up with a solid showing against the Giants. He had two interceptions, but one was not necessarily his fault. The other did show some weaknesses as to his arm strength, and if he does not develop into a starter in the league, arm strength will be the key culprit.
The question heading into these final six weeks is what will the 49ers do behind Jimmy Garoppolo next year? Do they try and unload Beathard or Mullens? They are currently carrying three quarterbacks, so might they actually carry Garoppolo, Beathard, AND Mullens? I suspect they will be willing to carry all three into the final preseason game next year, in hopes of trading one of them at some point before final roster cuts. Whether you want to see the 49ers win or not, you should be hoping for a strong showing from Mullens these final six weeks.
What are your impressions of the quarterbacks at midseason?