Nick Mullens was terrible in the 49ers' 23-15 loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday, to the point that coach Kyle Shanahan nearly replaced him with C.J. Beathard. Shanahan ultimately stuck with Mullens, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll do so again.
When asked if he would consider starting Beathard against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Shanahan was noncommittal.
"I'm just trying to consider what will give us the best chance to win and that's pretty much what I try to decide on that every week based off who plays," Shanahan told reporters Monday. "Just the way we've been turning the ball over so much, I need to decide if changing quarterbacks will help or not. So, that's something we'll look into, but regardless of what's going on in any situation, it's very tough to win football games when we've been turning the ball over."
Mullens committed two turnovers in the loss to Washington, both of which were returned for back-breaking touchdowns. In nine games this season, he has thrown as many interceptions (10) as touchdowns, and lost three fumbles.
The 49ers have a major decision to make on Jimmy Garoppolo, but there's plenty of uncertainty behind him. Mullens will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, while Beathard will be unrestricted. Shanahan remains a believer in both backup quarterbacks, but that doesn't mean they'll be back next season.
"You're always trying to get better," Shanahan explained. "I do think we have guys that we can win with who have gotten it done, but you're always trying to look to get better guys. It's just part of this business and I think our players know that and that's why, no matter who's out there, there's pressure on you every day."
"I think we do have two guys who have the capability for different reasons, but they haven't been playing like that and I don't think we've been playing like that around them," Shanahan continued. "So, I still do feel they have that ability and that's why I'm always confident to have them on our team, but yeah, you're always looking to upgrade in every situation."
With the 49ers all but eliminated from playoff contention, there isn't much left for them to play for. But from an individual and positional perspective, clearly there's still plenty at stake.