Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

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Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-24 loss to Washington

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-24 loss to Washington

LANDOVER, Md. -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 26-24 loss to Washington in Week 6 on Sunday:

1. Beathard takes over
Rookie C.J. Beathard replaced struggling Brian Hoyer in the second quarter. And, now, there is no reason to go backward. Beathard will get the remainder of the season to show what he can do.

When asked if Beathard showed enough to earn him the job as the permanent starter over Hoyer, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan answered, “Yes, he did.”

Beathard was not perfect. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with one touchdown and one interception. But he brought a whole new attitude to the 49ers. Hoyer’s play did not inspire anybody. Beathard brings a much-needed spark to the 49ers with his competitiveness and toughness.

He helped rally the 49ers from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to pull the 49ers even. Then, he nearly moved the 49ers into field-goal range before a controversial penalty complicated matters in the final minute of the game.

It is much too early to tell whether Beathard can be the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. But we know that Hoyer certainly is not that guy. Any chance of him finding a long-term home with his seventh NFL team in nine seasons is over.

2. A losing streak like none other
The 49ers became the first team in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or less. Just like the four previous weeks, the 49ers had their chances. On Sunday, they again felt as if a bad call went against them at the most inopportune moment.

The 49ers moved the ball to the Washington 40 with :28 remaining. Shanahan said if the 49ers did not gain another yard, he would have sent out kicker Robbie Gould for a 58-yarder to win the game.

Instead, the 49ers never got that chance because veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon was called for offensive pass interference for what was deemed an illegal pick play. Garçon was apoplectic as he pleaded his case with the officials. Shanahan was not pleased, either.

“I saw a slant route on a flat route and the guy guarding the flat route ran into a guy (Garçon),” Shanahan said.

When asked if a penalty flag for a pick can be thrown against the intended receiver, Shanahan said, “No. Absolutely not.”

The 49ers are finding a way to lose these close games, whether it's because of their league-high number of penalties, dropped passes, problems with the run game and a defense that has not buckled down in key moments.

And while it might be true that one questionable call is not enough to lose a game, the 49ers need that assistance because they have been unable to help themselves in those game-deciding moments over the past five weeks.

3. Moving on from Bowman
The 49ers’ defense got off to a slow start Sunday just two days after the release of four-time All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Washington moved briskly down the field for a game-opening touchdown drive.

But, then, the 49ers defense started to settle in. Reuben Foster was deemed not ready to return from a high ankle sprain. Brock Coyle and Ray-Ray Armstrong started and helped the 49ers limit Washington to 94 rushing yards on 33 attempts for a 2.8 average. But both struggled mightily in pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Combined, they surrendered 11 catches on 12 targets for 213 yards and one TD.

Foster is expected to be back for next week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and the 49ers can really begin the process of working with the players they expect to build around for the future.

A transition also appears to be happening at strong safety, where Jaquiski Tartt has put himself into position to take Eric Reid’s job. Reid was back in uniform after missing three games with a knee injury. But Tartt started, and Reid was used only as a sixth defensive back in passing situations.