The San Francisco 49ers lost a strange preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts, 23-17. While there was a lot of things to get hopeful by the starters, the inability to finish plays on both sides of the ball leaves a lot to work on.
Beyond the starters, backup quarterback C.J Beathard had his ups and downs. He took some tough hits, but was also 7-of-8 for 83 yards. Nick Mullens managed to bring the 49ers back into the game in the final minutes thanks to a nicely timed pass to Aldrick Robinson, but also coughed up a fumble in his first drive, and threw an interception to close out the game.
Mullens has shown some nice things this year, but Kyle Shanahan isn’t about to change things around. In his press conference following the game, the 49ers head coach said that it will be Jimmy Garoppolo and Beathard at one and two respectively unless something, “drastic” happens.
Beathard injured his foot in the second preseason game against the Houston Texans and some thought it might open the door for Mullens. Given that the injury is a week old and Shanahan hasn’t shown any sign of changing anything up, it’s safe to assume the injury isn’t anything serious. Or that Mullens doesn’t offer anything Shanahan needs to look at.
So what happens to Mullens? Despite him showing improvement in training camp and preseason, the 49ers will probably elect not to use a roster spot on a third quarterback and instead try to get him back to the practice squad for another year. He’ll be playing a majority of the snaps this coming week against the Los Angeles Chargers, and Shanahan said he hopes to get fourth string QB Jack Heneghan some work as well.
The thing to remember is while Mullens did show some great stuff, it was against third and fourth stringers. It was not enough coupled with practice work for the coaching staff to elevate him to second string, even if to kick the tires. If the coaches were to do it, this would be the week with Beathard’s injury, but it didn’t happen.
Beathard is your QB2.