SANTA CLARA – The 49ers made a roster move on Sept. 26 that amounted to a huge vote of confidence for Nick Mullens.
Coach Kyle Shanahan pegged Mullens as the quarterback he wanted to serve as C.J. Beathard’s backup after Jimmy Garoppolo was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Mullens received a promotion from the practice squad after the 49ers brought in seven quarterbacks for workouts.
“I honestly try not to pay too much attention to it, but at the same time, it really boosted my confidence that Kyle and John Lynch believe in me,” Mullens said on "The 49ers Insider Podcast."
“They’ve given me an opportunity to be the backup and it’s my job to take full responsibility and advantage of this opportunity, and I think I am so far.”
Shanahan gave Mullens another reason to feel security in his position on the depth chart – even after the club signed veteran quarterback Tom Savage to a one-year deal this week. Shanahan said Mullens will remain the team’s backup quarterback, and there is no competition for the job.
“One guy knows our offense and knows how to line people up and has played in it and has done a lot of good things for our team,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Our team has confidence in him. The other guy just got here last night and is just trying to learn what the words mean.”
Mullens set the stage for his promotion with a full season on the 49ers’ practice squad. He did not see much time at quarterback during the regular-season practices, as the No. 3 quarterback typically has to fill in at other positions.
“You could say my knowledge of overall football has grown through the experience of playing other positions,” Mullens said. “As a practice squad quarterback, you’re really just there to help the team any way you can.
“Obviously, you have to be ready to play, but at the same time, whether it’s special teams, receiver, safety, there are tasks and jobs that need to be done. So the more valuable you can be to the team, the more you’ll help the team.”
The 49ers were the only team that brought in Mullens for a pre-draft visit in 2017. When he went undrafted after a record-setting career at Southern Mississippi, he signed with the 49ers as a free agent.
After Mullens received his promotion with the 49ers last week, he received a congratulatory text from Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, the most famous Southern Miss alum.
“He came around a couple times a year,” Mullens said of Favre. “And after I graduated, I got to work with him for a couple of days, throw the routes, talk ball, watch film.
“It’s pretty cool to know that he supports me and other Southern Miss Golden Eagles.”