49ers

C.J. Beathard enjoys backup QB competition with friend Nick Mullens

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C.J. Beathard enjoys backup QB competition with friend Nick Mullens

SANTA CLARA — 49ers backup quarterback C.J. Beathard enjoys the competition with fellow QB Nick Mullens, and reports that their friendship will remain close no matter what happens. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has said that the competition between Beathard and Mullens will continue through training camp and into the preseason. They are currently getting an even number of snaps in practice while they remain neck and neck as to who might claim the spot to back up Jimmy Garoppolo

“I think any time you have competition from guys who are in the room, good players, it makes you better, it really does,” Beathard said. 

Beathard reports that he and Mullens not only spend time together on the field but also hang out away from the facility. 

“Me and Nick are friends, good friends off the field,” Beathard said. “I think our whole room is just a really good group of guys in general and we’re all good friends. At the end of the day, you’re just out there playing football, doing the best you can do with your reps and it’s just fun when you’re out there on the field.”

The Iowa product says having another year under his belt has helped him build chemistry with his receivers. It has also allowed Shanahan to be able to put more on his plate, which Beathard enjoys. 

One thing quarterbacks coach Shane Day has been working on with Beathard is his pocket awareness. Beathard has been sacked 37 times in the 13 games he has appeared in.

“Just drills every day,” Beathard said about the work they're doing. “Working on movement drills, throwing off kind of not parallel platforms, because a lot of times you’re going to have to throw with a guy in your face, or backing up and what not. And then just feeling the pocket, stepping up and stuff like that.” 

Beathard and Mullens are not only working together at the facility, but they are also practically living together, just down the hall from each other at the same hotel. The two have an unspoken agreement that whatever happens at work doesn’t affect their friendship. 

“Oh, yeah, 100 percent,” Beathard said. “We pretty much hang out every night in the hotel, because we are a couple of rooms down the hall. On the weekends, we probably golf every weekend, a group of four guys. We’re really close off the field.”  

[RELATED: Why Pettis is no longer stressed out in second season]

Beathard reports that it’s a different competition away from 4949 Marie DeBartolo Way, especially on the golf course. 

“We’re pretty competitive in that really. Most of the time we will go with four guys and Wilton Speight is actually a really good golfer, found out he’s really good. So, it will be me and Nick playing best ball against Wilton, and then someone who is not as good, but is decent. I don’t want to drop any names….Max McCaffrey.”

Regardless of whether it's on the golf course or on the football field, Beathard and Mullens will never stop competing.

49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon expected back in starting lineup vs. Packers

49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon expected back in starting lineup vs. Packers

SANTA CLARA – Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon returned to action in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals following a seven-game absence due to foot and quadriceps injuries.

Witherspoon started the first three games of the season and will return to the starting lineup as early as Sunday night when the 49ers face the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

Emmanuel Moseley remained in the starting lineup against the Cardinals because the 49ers had a short week following the Monday night game against Seattle, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“We weren’t going to throw Ahkello out there without covering a receiver at full speed (for the first time) in about seven weeks unless he could get three full days of practice in,” Shanahan said. “We walked through about 80-percent of our reps that week.

“Without getting the right amount of practice time in, it really wasn’t much of a decision.”

Witherspoon saw six snaps of action on Sunday when Moseley left the game briefly late in the third quarter due to cramps.

[RELATED: How 49ers' road ahead could be historically tough stretch]

Moseley, an undrafted second-year player from Tennessee, has been targeted 32 times and surrendered 19 catches for 248 yards with one touchdown and one interception with four pass breakups, according to Pro Football Focus.

Witherspoon got off to a great start through three games, allowing just six receptions on 19 targets for 148 yards with one touchdown and one interception and three passes defensed.

Deebo Samuel's insane catch in 49ers' win had Nate Burleson going nuts

Deebo Samuel's insane catch in 49ers' win had Nate Burleson going nuts

If 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel's incredible circus catch against the Cardinals on Sunday caused you to go crazy, you're not the only one.

Former NFL wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson highlighted the catch in this week's edition of "Toe Drag Swag," and to say that 11-year veteran was impressed with the rookie was an understatement.

"Now this one is nasty," Burleson said. "Deebo Samuel. Don't forget about him. He goes up and gets this. It bounces off of the back pad, bounces off the helmet of [Patrick] Peterson and then he tracks the ball. Deebo Samuel is snatching footballs like the real Deebo in 'Friday' was snatching chains.

"But how 'bout that concentration, though? You're trying to catch it over the back of one of the best corners in the business. It bounces off his back, it bounces off his head and then you still have the awareness to get your feet down before you go out of bounds."

In case you need a refresher, here are a few slo-mo replays.

Burleson went on to shower the 2019 second-round pick with praise.

"Deebo Samuel, for a young player who is transitioning from position to position, has stepped up and is one the best targets that Jimmy Garoppolo has on this offense," Burleson said. "Look at this play again. Keeping his eyes on the ball the whole time, in between two defenders, and still gets his feet down for one of the best catches in the business."

[RELATED: Samuel makes history vs. Cardinals]

After catching 22 passes for 227 yards over the first seven games he played in this season, Samuel has broken out with 16 receptions for 246 yards combined the last two weeks. Garoppolo targeted the rookie wide receiver a total of 21 times against the Seahawks and Cardinals.

Samuel is starting to make a believer out of everyone, including Burleson.

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