San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan named Nick Mullens the starter this upcoming Sunday against the Cowboys. Shanahan said, “I plan on Nick starting. We’ll always see what goes on in practice, but Nick’s the guy who will start out with, and we’ll see how it goes.” If you’re Mullens, and I’m sure he’s already aware of this, but that’s not exactly a vote of confidence from your head coach.
Shanahan said that if Mullens wants to remain the starter, “he’s got to stop turning the ball over.” Shanahan addressed Mullens missing open receivers but added that the 49ers' offense didn’t do him many favors with nine drops.
Shanahan was critical of Mullens but also acknowledged that backup quarterbacks shouldn’t have to play this long. He said a typical backup should play for 1-3 games. “Backup QBs, if they play too long, people aren’t gonna like them very much. Because backups aren’t the starter.”
That’s fair, but we’ve seen Mullens for more than three games, and he’s continuing to make the same mistakes, whether it be overthrows or turnovers. With the decision looming this offseason on which backup quarterback to bring back, I made the argument that it makes sense to give C.J. Beathard a three-game audition to end the season.
Shanahan continued to have his backup quarterbacks back: “Nick’s played some good football for us. He really has. Some of the plays he has made have been pretty impressive.”
He bounced back and forth between complimenting him and saying if Mullens doesn’t get his act together, he’ll get pulled. I’m curious how long Mullens leash will be on Sunday.
Here is who will and won’t practice Wednesday:
Likely to sit out
WR Deebo Samuel
RB Raheem Mostert
OL Dan Brunskill
OL Hroniss Grasu
CB K’Waun Williams
CB Emmanuel Moseley
LB Fred Warner
NT D.J. Jones