Monday kicks off OTA’s for the San Francisco 49ers. Monday will mark the first of 10-day practice period where no live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. There will be plenty of players trying to carve out their role on the team in 2019. For Nick Mullens, he will try to maintain the role of a backup quarterback.
In 2018, Mullens was thrown into the starting lineup after C.J. Beathard was injured. It’s not often you can be productive on offense when your third-string quarterback is playing a substantial amount of snaps. With Mullens out there, that’s precisely what happened. Mullens threw three touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders and had six incompletions in a 34-3 route during his first start in the NFL. While Mullens finished with a 3-5 record, you won’t get many arguments on who the second-best QB on the 49ers is. Just rewatching some of Mullens throws, he had a couple “wow” throws every game. Those throws weren’t just good for a rookie, but for any quarterback.
Mullens still acknowledges and accepts that there will be a battle for the backup quarterback position:
“It doesn’t matter what you did in the past,” Mullens told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle this week. “On the door it says, ‘What’s Important Now.’ And that’s what I’ve been focusing on and will continue to do every single day. What’s important now: I want to be best at QB drills we did with the coaches today. I embrace it. Competition brings out the best in people.”
Now is important. Proving it during the games is essential as well. Mullens did that. He became the first 49ers quarterback to throw for 220-or-more yards in eight consecutive games since Joe Montana did so in nine straight games from December 9, 1985, to December 7, 1986. He had one game-winning drive and would have had another one if the defense would have been able to hold up against the New York Giants.
Beathard might improve as well. Both players should be better with the new weapons around them. Mullens has proven it, and knows it:
“I don’t worry about what I can and can’t do,” Mullens said. “I feel like I proved that I’m pretty good and can play in this league.”