Just when you thought the San Francisco 49ers got out of Houston Texas unscathed, Kyle Shanahan updated everyone Sunday evening on the extent of the injuries. One of the many is an injury to backup quarterback C.J. Beathard who has a foot sprain that will be re-evaluated this week.
The extent of it is still unknown. Shanahan said that he didn’t think Beathard would need a walking boot, but with C.J. Beathard you can never know because of how tough he is.
If he does need the boot or is slowed down, that means Nick Mullens would get a shot at QB2 reps. This actually would be natural given that Mullens has appeared to outplay Beathard so far in the preseason. But beyond kicking the tires, there’s too much to fall into place for him to be taken seriously as second on the depth chart.
Mullens hasn’t played against the second stringers like Beathard has, so that may impact some of the good things he’s shown. Also, Mullens would have to play lights out in the next game (or two) for him to bump Beathard anywhere off the depth chart.
Still, Beathard has not been playing well in his two preseason games. His practice reports are a bit different, but the sample size on game day has not been inspiring. If we really wanted to see a switch, this injury would have to be legit enough that Mullens would get some extended practice time with the second team offense and we’d have to see a great deal of improvement when the 49ers play the Indianapolis Colts in their third week of preseason (assuming Mullens played with the second stringers). If Mullens was substantially better then, I wouldn’t be surprised if both he and Beathard split reps in their final preseason game where most of the main roster is sidelined. This would make the last preseason game a “final battle” of sorts. Even then, I think tie would go to Beathard thanks to his regular season experience last year. This isn’t like 2017 where Beathard clearly outplayed Matt Barkley and was far and away the better quarterback. The differences between Mullens and Beathard isn’t as sloped as Barkley and Beathard.
The Beathard injury may open the door for Mullens, but there’s just too many things that would have to go Mullens’ way at this point for me to even think he has a chance of unseating Beathard as QB2, unless this injury is something that throws Beathard on IR, which I sincerely doubt.