C.J. Beathard-Nick Mullens competition for 49ers' backup QB job far from over


C.J. Beathard-Nick Mullens competition for 49ers' backup QB job far from over

SANTA CLARA — The competition to be the 49ers' backup quarterback between C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens will continue through training camp as both signal-callers look to stake claim to the role of Jimmy Garoppolo's No. 2.

“At this point in the year as a position coach what I’m really trying to do is help all the quarterbacks get better,” quarterbacks coach Shane Day said. “They have individual things that each of them are working on and they are getting better.” 

Garoppolo has the starting position locked down and his rehab is progressing on schedule to have him be ready for full participation in training camp. While he sits out of 11-on-11 team drills during organized team activities, both Beathard and Mullens have gotten an equal share of the reps. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan reported that Beathard and Mullens will compete with each other through training camp for the backup position. Day reiterated that the decision won’t occur until late in the preseason. 

“The evaluation part of it, comes much later in the process, when we get towards the end of preseason, that third game,” Day said. “Right now we’re just trying to get better every single day at everything. Both of those guys have done a really good job in my opinion.” 

Beathard has been sacked 37 times in the 13 games he has appeared in. An injury to his hand that occurred in the backfield ultimately ended his season in 2018 giving way to Mullens. Beathard is trying to be more cognizant of the pass rush. 

“C.J. is really working on his pocket awareness and feeling when defenders are moving in on him, moving in the pocket and finding the soft spots,” Day said. 

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While Mullens put up good statistics in short yardage situations, his accuracy dropped in passes over 20 yards down the field. Day said improving his deep pass is a focus during OTAs.

“Nick is just continuing to progress. He’s been working on a lot of things, as far as throwing balls down the field, outside the numbers, that type of thing. Just kind of increasing his game,” Day said. 

“Both of those guys have done a great job and there’s a ton of little teeny micro adjustments that we make every day and those guys have kind of picked that up as we’ve worked on that.”

Packers-49ers game features best friends Matt LaFleur, Robert Saleh matching wits


Packers-49ers game features best friends Matt LaFleur, Robert Saleh matching wits

SANTA CLARA – Matt LaFleur and Robert Saleh are best friends, so it would be no surprise that one had a favor to ask of the other this week.

“I was messing with him the other day,” LaFleur said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “I asked him to call me. I shot him a text message. I said, ‘Hey, would you give me a call? I have a couple questions about your defense.’”

LaFleur, 40, is the head coach and offensive play-caller for the Green Bay Packers. Saleh, 40, is the 49ers’ defensive coordinator. The two will face off Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium.

“That was the last of the communication,” LaFleur said.

LaFleur and Saleh served as graduate assistants on Brian Kelly’s 2004 staff at Central Michigan in LaFleur’s hometown of Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Saleh began work for the Houston Texans in an entry-level position in 2005. LaFleur joined the Texans’ staff as a quality control coach in 2008 after Saleh gave him a recommendation for the job.

LaFleur, whose brother Mike is the passing game coordinator for the 49ers, is in his first year as head coach of the Packers. Saleh is being talked about as a person who will receive interest as soon as this offseason for any and all NFL head-coaching vacancies.

Matt LaFleur's offense will be going head-to-head against Saleh’s defense on Sunday in a game with huge NFC playoff implications. The 49ers are 9-1 and atop the NFC West, while the Packers lead the NFC North with an 8-2 mark.

The Packers coach has known Saleh well for more than a decade, and he is impressed with the alterations he has made to his defensive scheme this season with the 49ers.

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“It’s definitely evolved from the background being Seattle, Jacksonville,” LaFleur said of Saleh. “He’s implemented some more two safety looks and changed some of the rules up. I think he’s done a heck of a job with it.

“You talk about one of the more sound systems in this league, I think that’s a big reason they haven’t given big plays. It’s extremely difficult to get those big plays on that defense. That’s a credit to Robert and his staff, and there are some pretty damn good players on that side of the ball, too.”

49ers' Deebo Samuel named to Pro Football Focus Team of the Week

49ers' Deebo Samuel named to Pro Football Focus Team of the Week

After a rough showing in the 49ers’ first loss of the season against the Seahawks in Week 10, San Francisco’s receiving core came to play in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals.

But no one stood out more for the 49ers’ offense than rookie wideout Deebo Samuel.

The South Carolina product hauled in eight of his nine targets in the winning effort, tallying 134 yards receiving.

Without star tight end George Kittle, San Francisco needed another pass-catcher to step up and Samuel did just that. The rookie aptly was named to the Pro Football Focus “Week 11 Team of the Week” for his big performance.

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The speedster dominated with the ball in his hands, too, racking up 49 yards after the catch, and forced two missed tackles.

Samuel will have an exponentially tougher matchup in Week 12 when the 49ers welcome the Green Bay Packers and their stifling secondary to Levi’s Stadium.