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Nick Mullens: The yards against Seattle were great, but we needed touchdowns

The 49ers quarterback chatted with the media about a performance that had big numbers, but missing some key ones.

Nick Mullens Press Conference

QB1 is at the podium.

Posted by San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

As you looked over it, assess your performance on Sunday?

“I think there’s a lot to improve on. We moved the ball pretty well as a unit, but there were certain points in the game where we didn’t capitalize. I thought if we could have, it would have made the game a lot closer than it was. So, just got to keep building, keep improving, personally, sticking to my progressions and staying strong in the pocket. Just got to go back to work this week. We know we have potential. We know we can be a good offense. We’ve just got to work to go do it.”

Did you know you were over the 400 mark? When you saw that stat, what did you think?

“I didn’t know until after the game. I guess it’s cool, but we didn’t score enough points. Sixteen points on the road in that environment is not going to get it done, and we know that. So, we’ve just got to work to get more points on the board and give our team a chance.”

What kind of problems do the Broncos present, you in particular?

“They obviously have two very good pass rushers and some pretty solid guys on the interior. They’re going to mix it up in their personnel and play some man coverage and just kind of mix things up for us. So, we’ve got to be on our assignments, just be ready to go. The biggest thing I think is just focusing on us. If we work as a unit and focus on our assignments and how we execute, then I think we’ll have a real great chance of winning.”

Do you ever do any virtual simulation to practice against a pass rush during the season? Is that training camp stuff or preseason?

“Not really. There is like a virtual reality tool that is offered here. I use it sometimes, but not too much. I’d say it’s a different way to watch film and it is pretty cool. There’s certain things that I’ll pick up on sometimes. It’s another tool offered here.”

Have you done it at all over the last month?

“A little bit, yeah. It’s another way, really, to just review the game plan. I think it’s pretty interesting. You go in and you put the goggles on and kind of watch practice from the quarterback’s view compared to just sitting and watching on your typical projector and stuff. I think it’s probably offered to a handful of teams. Different quarterbacks like it. Some do, some don’t. I feel like I’m kind of in the middle.”

The NFL has had numerous backup quarterbacks through the years get a chance, or a game or two, and then you never hear from them again. How do you feel about in your four starts the kind of impression you’ve made to make this a long career?

“That’s a good question. Who knows, to be honest. Who knows. I try to leave a good impression every time I step on the field, not just by how I play, but how I influence my teammates and the passion that I play with. So, obviously, I hope it’s a good impression really to myself. I just try to outdo myself every week and that’s kind of what matters.”

How familiar are you with Denver Broncos QB Case Keenum? Has his success in the NFL encouraged you at all as a fellow undrafted free agent?

“Yeah, it definitely has. Being an undrafted guy, I’ve kind of, I guess you could say done some research on different guys’ paths and how they’ve made it, how they’ve stuck around in the NFL. He’s definitely a guy that I’ve looked at his path, see how he’s gone. So yeah, definitely. He’s a great quarterback. He’s earned everything that he’s gotten in his career and that’s what I respect the most about him. He’s a good player. He’s doing a great job for them right now in their streak and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

You said you’ve done some research on some undrafted guys. How do you go about doing that?

“Just look up like their paths, their careers and see the steps they take to improve their careers. It’s a long journey, so you never know how it’ll play out.”

Who were some of those names of guys that you kind of like what you’ve seen about how they’ve gone about it?

“A handful of guys. Guys who just got tryouts. I’m always looking at certain things. That’s more in the free time. There’s a handful of guys I guess you could say. Nobody comes off the top of my head to be specific.”

Have you met former NFL QB Jeff Garcia yet?

“Yeah, I have. I met him after the first game. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jeff. He’s awesome. I grew up watching him actually and I like the style of play that he played with, his energy, his passion. It’s awesome. So yeah, I was lucky enough to meet him.”

What will it mean if you have WR Marquise Goodwin back this week?

“That’s big time. Marquise obviously is a threat with his speed, but he’s more than just a speed guy. He’s a great receiver, he’s made a lot of plays for us and I think he brings good juice to the locker room. So, obviously we just hope the best for him, the things he’s had to go through. But, it’s awesome to see him back in the building and out there in practice. We’re pumped to have him back.”

How have you seen WR Dante Pettis’ play improve the last few weeks?

“Yeah, it’s been awesome. It’s been natural, I guess. It’s natural development. He’s focusing on a couple of different things. He’s getting a lot better and just more comfortable. If you watch his confidence grow, the way he’s snatching the ball and accelerating up field, I think that just comes with him playing more. His confidence is definitely growing and that’s been awesome to see. It’s a lot of fun to watch him make some big-time plays.”

RB Matt Breida is not going to play this weekend. How will his absence affect the offense and what have you seen from RB Jeff Wilson Jr.?

“I think it’s a next man up mentality. Even since Jeff got here, he was undrafted and even since he got here, he’s left a really solid impression on me. I think you can see it from day one, the way he stepped in. He’s done a great job of learning the offense, running, blocking, pass routes. He can do a little bit of everything and once he got his opportunity, I think everybody saw how hard he runs. That fires me up. He brings it every carry that he’s going to get. So, I think Jeff is ready to step in and take that role on for sure.”

That hard running style, is that something you can see in practice or is that something that can only really be expressed in a real game?

“I think we all knew that he had it and that’s how he attacks the game. But, I guess you could say he took those expectations to another level when he got his carries in the game and it was awesome. I think the one play where he ran over that guy really brought a lot of juice to the whole team. That was awesome to see and he can definitely make a difference in this game.”

Were you familiar with his game much in college?

“Not really, to be honest. I think I was hurt and he was hurt when we played my senior year so I didn’t really know much about him. But, I saw he had a big-time senior year coming out. It’s always cool to see Conference USA guys do well, for sure.”

Head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned the play where he ran over the guy, that maybe that jolted everyone and everyone kind of you went, “Okay, now we’re ready.” Was there a sense that that was kind of a momentum shifter for you guys?

“Yeah, you could say that. It was just awesome to see. Seeing guys bring that intensity and making plays like that, coach Shanahan talks about you can be a leader in a lot of ways, whether it’s a vocal leader, being a leader by your actions or being a leader by the way you play. Whatever’s going to make people better, that’s being a leader. On that play, Jeff was a leader of our team and making people better around him by making that play that boosted our energy.”

You were pretty critical of your performance in Seattle, but throwing for 414 yards in that stadium against that team is pretty tough. Only two quarterbacks ever have thrown for more yards in that stadium against that coach. Were you pleased at all with your performance or what did you think of the environment, that being your first time up there?

“The environment was awesome. It was so much fun to play in. I was telling some people after the game, that was really cool, it was. It definitely lives up to the reputation. But, as far as throwing for the yards, I don’t know, I guess I didn’t even realize it and then at that point, it’s not what matters. We lost, we didn’t score touchdowns. So, there’s a lot of things running through your head and that was the biggest thing that was on my heart at that point. I just wish we could have scored more points. Obviously, you get the fumble call, which we all know how we feel about that. Then I think we had the ball twice in the red zone and didn’t come up. Obviously, the interception, which sucks. So, there’s some different things where you just really wish you could have capitalized.”