Jimmy Garoppolo is out with a torn ACL, which means now the San Francisco 49ers will turn to the backup, C.J. Beathard. If you’re new to the program, you might not have had a chance to see Beathard’s limited action in 2017, or the 49ers were so bad B.G. (Before-Garoppolo) you repressed it. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to break down the new signal caller for the 49ers in 2018.
Beathard was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. The pick drew criticism due to Beathard being seen as a sixth or seventh round pick, not a third. The positives were his experience in a pro-style offense at Iowa. Still, this was a guy labeled as a career backup and nothing more. His preseason displayed some optimism. If an NFL veteran had the same preseason it wouldn’t have been anything to write home about, but as a rookie he was able to pick up on some busted coverages and notch some touchdowns.
He saw his first NFL regular-season action in Week 6 of 2017, coming in for an inefficient Brian Hoyer and starting an additional five games, winning only one. His time as a starter concluded with a huge hit in the final minutes of the Seattle Seahawks, which resulted in Garoppolo taking the reins of the offense. His final totals for his stint was a 54.9 completion percentage, 1,430 yards passing, and four touchdowns to six interceptions.
Beathard’s preseason for 2018 didn’t display the jumps one would hope from year one to year two. Gone were the impressive rookie moments from his 2017 preseason that made the 49ers think he could be a decent pick with some development. His passes were inaccurate; getting tipped frequently, and he still held onto the ball longer than most would like.
49ers fans can hope that preseason was a misnomer, because Beathard is taking over again. He now has a year of experience in Kyle Shanahan’s system and some starting experience in the NFL. While lackluster last year, that experience does nothing but help him now as he isn’t fed to the wolves this time around. His sack totals (19) from last year may go down now that the 49ers offensive line is improved and the talent around him has had a slight increase thanks to the drafting of Dante Pettis and the return of Pierre Garçon.
This is in no way an ideal situation for the 2018 season, but while Beathard may not offer much, he still is better than other options. Did you see how Josh Rosen played?