No sooner did Jimmy Garoppolo’s knee injury put C.J. Beathard into the starting line-up, the announcements came of all the quarterbacks to bring in for workouts; Dan Savage, Matt Simms, Kellen Clemens. The San Francisco 49ers are not in a rush to sign anybody, as they should be. C.J. Beathard gives them and everyone not the best chance to win, but the best chance to develop in a consistent scheme. This is to keep things rolling into 2019, to keep those rookies and second-year players developing without introducing wrinkles never to be used again.
Who can the 49ers bring in that a) can learn the playbook (one of the hardest in the league) to where it’s not detrimental to the other 10 guys in the huddle, and b) apply it on the field?
There’s only one quarterback on that roster who potentially knew the offense better than Garoppolo, and that was the guy he replaced in 2017: Beathard. In 2018, Kyle Shanahan has a young team that for all intents and purposes is—and was—in a developmental season. At this point, it’s a a squad with a majority of younger players that need to know the offense—that offense—inside and out. And Kyle Shanahan’s playbook doesn’t allow that in one season. Especially if you’re brought up in Week 4.
Bringing a quarterback off the street in doesn’t help anyone if that’s the case. The 49ers went down this road last year with Jimmy Garoppolo and a scaled back playbook. There was a benefit to that, the 49ers were looking at keeping Garoppolo around for the long-term and wanted to see how he’d perform (and if they needed to get Kirk Cousins). They have no intention of doing that with whoever they would replace Beathard with. The focus is now on everything around the quarterback.
This isn’t a season where the 49ers are in win or bust mode, it’s a season where everyone needs to get on the same page for the future. It’s a season where a signal caller who knows this offense is more beneficial, not one who can change everything since they have all the talent to go to a Super Bowl, because they don’t.
Maybe Beathard doesn’t give them the best chance to win, but he at least knows the terminology and play calling that Garoppolo used. Bring in someone off the street and you’re not only scaling back the playbook, but you’re stunting the development of everyone for a backup quarterback you have no intention of keeping for no reason at all. And yes, this is exactly what they did with Garoppolo last year, but again, that is a completely different scenario than the one the 49ers face now.
So again: Who would you go get that could run Shanahan’s offense better at this point in the season?
There are better quarterbacks out there, but there isn’t one who can ramp up Shanahan’s playbook in time to where it helps. Someone who was at training camp and has been a better part of this offense for a year is a much better fit given the circumstances.
For better or worse, there’s no one better than Beathard.