49ers

Kyle Shanahan 'happy' with QBs 49ers have after Jimmy Garoppolo injury

Kyle Shanahan 'happy' with QBs 49ers have after Jimmy Garoppolo injury

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Coach Kyle Shanahan suggested the 49ers’ initial plan is to promote quarterback Nick Mullens from the practice squad to take the roster spot that will open with Jimmy Garoppolo’s expected season-ending injury.

“I’m definitely happy with the guys we got,” Shanahan said after the 49ers' 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 49ers believe Garoppolo sustained an ACL tear in his left knee. An MRI on Monday is expected to confirm the extent of the injury.

The 49ers began the regular season with quarterbacks Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard on the 53-man roster and Mullens, a second-year pro, on the practice squad. If the 49ers promote Mullens to the active roster, they can be expected to sign a young player to the practice squad.

“We’ll have to do something,” Shanahan said. “We only have two guys on our roster, so we’ll add another guy to the practice squad or bring in a third. We’ll definitely want to have three guys in our building.”

[RATTO: Don't start with 'next man up']

Beathard attempted only one pass after entering in place of Garoppolo late in the game. He threw an apparent 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle, but a questionable pass-interference penalty on fullback Kyle Juszczyk nullified the fourth-down play. The 49ers opted to send out Robbie Gould for a 35-yard field goal on the fourth-down re-play.

During the preseason, Beathard completed 27 of 45 passes (60 percent) for 346 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. Mullens completed 31 of 43 attempts (72.1 percent) for 396 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.

Undrafted rookie Jack Heneghan served as the 49ers’ fourth quarterback during camp. He got into the final preseason game and completed 8 of 9 passes for 58 yards.

Matt Breida returns, creating logjam, dilemma at 49ers running back position

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USATSI

Matt Breida returns, creating logjam, dilemma at 49ers running back position

BRADENTON, Fla. – Raheem Mostert became the third different 49ers running back to gain more than 100 yards in a game this season on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Now with Matt Breida able to participate in full practices after missing three games with an ankle sprain. Coach Kyle Shanahan has a bit of a dilemma on his hands, beginning this week when the 49ers play the New Orleans Saints.

“We have to talk about it a lot,” Shanahan answered when asked about how he will determine playing time for his talented group of running backs.

Mostert in the hot back after rushing for 146 yards in the 49ers' 20-17 loss Sunday to the Ravens.

Breida is the team’s leading rusher.

And Tevin Coleman provides, perhaps, the best all-around combination of outside and inside running, as well route-running and pass-catching out of the backfield.

Breida, Coleman and Mostert have produced 100-yard rushing games this season.

And there’s also Jeff Wilson, who has produced four rushing touchdowns in a limited role and had a touchdown reception out of the backfield to help the 49ers pull off a recent last-minute win over the Arizona Cardinals.

“All of them, they have unique things that they do well, but all of them can do everything,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “I know that kind of sounds weird, but they can all catch, they can all run with the ball.

“You’ve got to pick your spots, and I think Kyle and the rest of the coaches do a great job of putting those guys in there and putting them in spots to be successful, really. And that’s what it really comes down to at the end of the day.”

[RELATED: 49ers' Fred Warner named NFC Defensive Player of the Month]

There are not enough running plays during the course of a game to take advantage of everyone’s skills, therefore Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner must devise a plan and be ready to adjust during the course of a game.

“It’s very tough to use four backs,” Shanahan said. “It’s tough to use three backs. You can kind of go in and designate a certain role for them all, but very rarely do all of them get the work.

“We started with Tevin last week. Raheem had a few good runs, and we stuck with the hot hand. That’s why he got most of them. I’m sure if Tevin would have stayed in, he would have got a few going, too. But that’s just how it is when you have a bunch of good backs. It’s something we’re definitely not complaining about.”

Breida leads the 49ers with 542 yards rushing with a 5.0-yard average. Mostert has gained 539 yards rushing with a team-leading 5.9-yard average. Coleman has a team-best six touchdowns to go along with his 454 yards rushing on a 3.8 average. And Wilson has four touchdown runs and a 3.9 average on just 27 rushing attempts.

49ers' Fred Warner named NFC Defensive Player of Month for November

49ers' Fred Warner named NFC Defensive Player of Month for November

Since 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander sustained a season-ending torn pectoral, middle linebacker Fred Warner has elevated his game to another level.

On Thursday, Warner was recognized as NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

In his four games in November, Warner registered 10 or more tackles in each game. He picked up three sacks, three passes defensed and forced two fumbles.

Warner, a second-year player from BYU, becomes the second consecutive 49ers player to win the award. Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa won the honor for October.

Warner played well Sunday in the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens despite the significant challenge of trying to slow down quarterback Lamar Jackson and the top-ranked offense in the league.

“All the misdirection and everything they have, especially with the quarterback runs, can really lock a guy up,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I thought he played as good as any of the linebackers that I’ve seen play them on tape and as it got going.

“They were good in the beginning, but they got better as the game went because the more you see that stuff, the more you get a feel for it. When you’ve got a guy like Fred, who’s very natural at things and football comes to him the right way, he just got better as the game went.”

[RELATED: Shanahan uses 'Karate Kid' analogy to describe Sherman's recovery]

Warner has taken on more responsibility since Alexander, a vocal leader on the defense, sustained his injury. Warner’s responsibilities include relaying the play call from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to his teammates in the huddle.

“It was usually him calling the plays and Kwon being the energy guy,” Bosa said. “And now it’s him doing both. He calls the play. He gets us lined up. And he brings the energy, so he’s really important.”