Nick Mullens expects to get better ahead of 49ers offseason program


Nick Mullens expects to get better ahead of 49ers offseason program

Nick Mullens started the season on the 49ers’ practice squad and he ended up as the starter for the final eight games.

His average of 284.6 yards passing per game is the fourth-most since at least 1970 for a player in his first eight games, ranking behind only Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, and Cam Newton.

“It was a fun eight-game stretch," Mullens said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.  “Coach (Kyle) Shanahan let me throw it around a pretty good bit, which is always fun for me playing the position.”

Mullens originally signed with the 49ers after going undrafted in 2017 from Southern Mississippi. After one full season on the team’s practice squad, Mullens had a good grasp of the offense when he got his chance to replace C.J. Beathard for a Week 9 game against the Raiders.

Mullens said he fit in well with Shanahan’s offense because the offense is well-balanced and all the pieces fit well together to create conflicts for defenses.

“And when I say balanced, I’m not just talking about run and pass,” Mullens said. “I’m talking about the run game looks exactly like the play-action, which sets up the keeper game. And then you mix in your quick game and your dropbacks. It five different phases that all work really well together, and it keeps defenses on their toes. They never know what they’re going to get. It really gives the offense a great chance at success.

“Looking at our yards after the catch, (those) are small-scheme plays that enable George (Kittle) and the playmakers on offense to catch it and run. That’s scheme.”

Kittle set the record for most receiving yards (1,377) from a tight end in NFL history. He had 873 yards after the catch, according to Pro Football Focus, which is the most for any player at any position since PFF began keeping statistics in 2006.

[RELATED: Kittle, Richie James voted to writers' All-NFC Team]

But Mullens heads into the offseason without a backup job locked up. He will compete with Beathard for the role behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo. In the meantime, Mullens is focused on getting better. He will spend time in the offseason working with former Ole Miss quarterback David Morris of QB Country before reporting back to Santa Clara for the beginning of the 49ers' offseason program.

“Like coach Shanahan said in the team meeting, ‘Always keep your mind on getting better.' Even if you’re relaxing and taking time off and getting away, you’re still thinking about getting better,” Mullens said.

“How can I get better? Whether it’s reading books or studying coverages or thinking about different plays through the year. And when your time comes to start doing field work, agility and conditioning and all that, and getting yourself ready for OTAs and stuff like that. You’re always thinking about getting better. I’m really excited about that mindset going into the offseason.”

Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks


Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks

49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan was suspended for one game after comments made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson following Sunday’s loss.

“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with the dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see the thing,” Ryan said on the show (H/T The San Francisco Chronicle).

The comments created a social media firestorm, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh isn’t interested in furthering the controversy.

“I don’t really know too much about it or understand the context of it. It’s not relevant to what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.

[RELATED: 49ers' Harris to start at strong safety for injured Tartt]

Former 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown will replace Ryan on Sunday’s broadcast in New Orleans.

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

BRADENTON, Fla. – Marcell Harris on Sunday will be back where he ended his rookie season with the 49ers.

Harris will take over as the 49ers’ starter at strong safety with Jaquiski Tartt out for at least one game after sustaining cracked ribs in the team’s 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.

Tartt and backup defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (elbow) have been ruled out for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Two of the 49ers’ seldom-used wide receivers, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, are listed as questionable, along with left tackle Joe Staley. Goodwin has knee and foot issues, according to the team, while Pettis has already missed one game with a knee injury.

Staley has missed three games after surgery to repair a fractured and dislocated finger. He is expected to play Sunday.

All other 49ers players, including Dee Ford and Richard Sherman, will be available for Sunday’s game.

Harris started the final five games of his rookie season after being a sixth-round draft pick from Florida in 2018. He did not earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster at the beginning of this season. Harris was promoted from the practice squad in October and has appeared in nine games this season.

“I’m real happy for Marcell,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan," which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “He’s gone come a long way, in that he was a very good college player, tore his Achilles his senior year, which really hurt him. That’s why we were able to get him in the draft. It affected him his whole rookie year.

"He’s been able to string together about eight months where he has been healthy, and when you’re made of the right stuff, you have the talent and you can stay healthy, you usually just need the time.”

Harris took over for Tartt on Sunday and made one of the top plays in the game when he took the ball away from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a running play to create a turnover.

[RELATED: Sanders has been valuable resource for 49ers' young WRs]

49ers injury report

S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)

WR Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot)
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
T Joe Staley (finger)