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Kyle Shanahan thinks the backup quarterback will be decided when roster cuts happen

Game 4 of the preseason may be watchable

The San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback competition got some very different numbers on Monday, and it’s up to you to decide which stat is more important. It doesn’t seem like either C.J. Beathard, or Nick Mullens has done much to put themselves ahead of the other. At least, not yet.

In his conference call Tuesday, Kyle Shanahan did go over when a decision will be made on the backup quarterback job and indicated this might go a bit longer than initially thought:

“There are so many things that play into this [backup quarterback battle]. The stuff that goes into this for the final 53 to the quarterbacks on. I know we have two backup quarterbacks who are both capable of starting and I would be happy with either one as our backup. One of those guys is going to win the job and we will make that decision. I do not see myself making that decision until I absolutely have to and that probably won’t be until the final 53. But, if we make it before that and there’s no advantage in hiding it, I promise we’ll let you guys know.”

So far, there hasn’t been much in preseason games to give Shanahan a reason to separate either man, but we aren’t at practices to see how they are doing with reps and the like. The 49ers closed off training camp after their joint practices with the Denver Broncos, so whoever is winning (or gains ground) is anyone’s guess—or what Shanahan wants to disclose to the media at press conferences.

If Shanahan thinks he won’t be deciding on the final 53-man roster, that means Game 4 of the preseason could be somewhat watchable as it would be the final battle between C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. If Shanahan makes a decision it’s doubtful he’d let the 49ers backup quarterback on the field for the fourth preseason game as that’s more of a showcase of talent about to be cut. Not to mention the chance for the player to get hurt.

On the other hand, if he does make a decision and doesn’t say anything, it will be telling if you see more of Beathard or Mullens in Week 4—that could mean one has won the job.

From the looks of it though, if Shanahan won’t decide between cutting down to the 53-man roster, we might get to see the two in Week 4, which would make a somewhat uninteresting game quite interesting. It also means Wilton Speight may not get much playing time at all.

Poor Speight.