SANTA CLARA – The person in the role of Mitchell Trubisky during practice had a good day against the 49ers’ defense on Wednesday.
Undrafted rookie quarterback Nick Mullens from Southern Mississippi has spent the season on the 49ers’ practice squad. He is the de facto No. 3 quarterback for a team that has kept just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
With C.J. Beathard unable to practice Wednesday due to knee and hip issues, Mullens took all of the scout team snaps against the 49ers’ No. 1 defense to get them prepared to face the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.
“I like Nick, man,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He diced us up yesterday. He does a good job. Nick is a professional quarterback, so you’d expect nothing less from him.”
Mullens could be promoted to the 53-man roster to serve as Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup if Beathard is not cleared to play on Sunday. He said he studies the team’s game plan every week as if the call is going to come.
Until then, he will practice as the quarterback of the upcoming opponent to give the best look possible to ensure the 49ers’ defense is ready on game days for what it's going to face.
“I look at every opportunity as a chance for me to show the coaches I’m good enough to play,” Mullens said. “So for me, scout team is like game day for me, every practice, every rep. It’s a chance for me to get better as quarterback while helping the defense at the same time.”
Mullens saw limited action during the exhibition season before being assigned to the practice squad. He completed seven of 10 pass attempts for 58 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
The 49ers have signed wide receiver Max McCaffrey off the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad, a source confirmed Tuesday to NBC Sports Bay Area.
The NFL Network first reported the 49ers’ move.
The team could place wide receiver Victor Bolden on injured reserve to make roster space for McCaffrey. Bolden sustained an ankle injury in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans.
McCaffrey (6 foot 2, 200 pounds) is a second-year player from Duke. He is the son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey and the older brother of former Stanford star and Carolina Panthers rookie Christian McCaffrey.
Max McCaffrey appeared in five games this season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching one pass for 4 yards.
He originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted rookie and spent time with Green Bay, New Orleans and Jacksonville before returning to the Packers’ practice squad in October.
Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown for more yards than any quarterback in 49ers history in his first two starts.
But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo’s play has not changed how he views the contract situation that must be addressed before the start of the new league year in March.
The 49ers acquired Garoppolo in a late-October trade with the New England Patriots. He is under contract only through the end of this season. The 49ers will retain Garoppolo with the franchise tag if the sides are unable to reach agreement on a multi-year deal.
“For me personally, it doesn't impact anything,” Shanahan said. “I thought it was so neat about the situation that I didn't feel that, because of that (franchise) option, that we had to see something here or there, and we had to do all this stuff.
“It's been able for us to just try to do things the right way, put him in when we thought he was ready to, not put any pressure on him where he has to do all this to show something. Obviously, we're very encouraged with how these two games have been.”
The 49ers must designate Garoppolo as their franchise player at any point from Feb. 20 to March 6. Last year, the one-year cost for a franchise player at quarterback was $21.268 million.
In leading the 49ers to back-to-back road victories, Garoppolo threw for 293 yards against the Chicago Bears and 334 yards against the Houston Texans. Garoppolo is scheduled to make his first home start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Levi's Stadium.
“We'll see what happens here in the offseason when we get together and can assess everything,” Shanahan said. “I definitely don't think that’s something he's thinking about at this point, and it's definitely not something I'm thinking about, either.”
Shanahan said he does not anticipate the sides working out a contract extension during the final three weeks of the regular season.