C.J. Beathard should start over Nick Mullens for 49ers, Donte Whitner says

Alex Didion
·3 min read

Whitner believes Beathard should start over Mullens for 49ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The quarterback position has been a revolving door for the 49ers in 2020, as Jimmy Garoppolo's ankle injury has kept him out of three full games this season, along with significant portions of two other contests.

Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard each have gotten their chance, with varying results. But after watching Mullens struggle mightily until the final few minutes of Thursday night's 34-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, NBC Sports Bay Area's Donte Whitner has seen enough, and wants Beathard to get a chance to start next week's game in New Orleans against the Saints.

"Last game he started, he didn't perform well. This week, he didn't perform well," Whitner said on "49ers Postgame Live" after the loss. "Too many bad balls, too many late balls, and forced balls. There was one he threw in coverage in a hole-technique where the safety was just standing there, and he basically just threw the football to him.

"We've seen enough of Nick Mullens for the rest of the year, let's see what C.J. Beathard has, let's see if he can move this offense, not turn the football over, and at least put some points on the board."

Mullens finished Thursday night's loss 22-of-35 passing for 291 yards with a touchdown and an interception and posted a 86.7 passer rating. In his two other starts so far in 2020, Mullens completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 543 yards and a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.

After Mullens' rough start against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, Beathard came on to replace the young quarterback, completing 14 of his 19 passes for 138 yards. Shanahan was impressed enough by Beathard's play against the Eagles that he moved Beathard ahead of Mullens on the depth chart behind Garoppolo.

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When the 49ers were being bulldozed by the Miami Dolphins, Beathard replaced Garoppolo in the second half and completed nine of 18 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Neither Beathard nor Mullens has shown enough to be able to lead the 49ers to a win over a respectable team (sorry New York Giants) but San Francisco doesn't have much of a choice with Garoppolo expected to be on the shelf for at least a few weeks.

Mullens didn't put up an ideal performance against what had been an average Packers defense at best coming into Thursday. Whoever gets the nod to start in Week 10 will face a tough road test in the Superdome, although a lack of a home crowd should benefit the 49ers. San Francisco won a thrilling 48-46 shootout there last season, a game in which Garoppolo tossed four touchdowns and put up his third-best passer rating of the 2019 campaign.

Whether it ends up being Mullens or Beathard against the Saints next week, they'll be hoping to replicate both that performance and the result, as Thursday's loss drops the 49ers to 4-5 overall.