Despite greatly exceeding expectations over the final eight games of the season, quarterback Nick Mullens now goes back to a spot down on the 49ers’ depth chart.
That’s because Jimmy Garoppolo, whose 2018 season ended with a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 3, will be the team’s starter when the 2019 campaign opens in the fall.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has never debated that point. The competition involving Mullens and C.J. Beathard will be for the backup role behind Garoppolo.
Late in the season, Garoppolo was on a schedule that focused on his rehabilitation, along with extensive hours of film study.
“The rehab has been the biggest part,” Shanahan said. “He comes to all the meetings. This last month, we’ve really upped his film work. He has about two hours' session in the morning, when we just watch film with him. He has a three-hour session in the afternoon.
“He’s been watching a bunch of old cutups, where he can go back to whatever the concept is, and he can watch the people we did it with, from Houston to Washington to Cleveland to Atlanta.”
The 49ers expect Garoppolo to be ready to hit the practice field in May and early June during organized team activities. Then he should be ready for a full training camp, beginning in late July, as long as there are no setbacks along the way.
"So he’s getting more film study and things like that than probably he would like,” Shanahan said. “He would like to get out in the sun and throw the ball around more, but he’s got to be a little more patient with that as his knee recovers."