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49ers overreactions: Does Shanahan prefer Mullens as his QB?

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We’re not going to waste any time.

We're getting right into it this week and start off this installment of overreactions with a bonus submission.

Overreaction? Yes, but only because. . .

We love the outside-the-box thinking on this one. Very good.

The 49ers won back-to-back games at MetLife Stadium, outscoring the New York Jets and Giants by a combined score of 67-22.

Yes, we do believe the 49ers will win more games at MetLife Stadium than either the Jets or the Giants -- two teams that must be considered the favorites to hold the Nos. 1 and 2 spots in the 2021 draft.

But this is an overreaction because ... the Arizona Cardinals visit MetLife Stadium in Week 5 to face the Jets and in Week 14 to meet up with the Giants.

We are predicting a pair of Arizona victories. But I think it’s safe to say no team will win more games this season on that sticky turf than the 49ers.

Overreaction? Yes

Nick Mullens looked a little rusty with his decision-making early in the game. That was to be expected. It was his first start since December 2018.

But the more Mullens played, the better he got.

Mullens did everything asked of him and more. As Shanahan said, Mullens made the plays that were there and a few others in which he provided positive gains when nothing was there.

The 49ers really like their three quarterbacks. In fact, Shanahan said if the decision of whom would replace Jimmy Garoppolo were based solely on practices, it would be a difficult decision between Mullens and C.J. Beathard.

 

Mullens won the job with how he performed in 2018, and there has been no reason for him to lose that position on the team’s depth chart.

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But when Garoppolo is healthy enough to play, he will be on the field. There is no controversy.

“I think everyone knows Jimmy is at a little bit different level than all the guys in terms of throwing ability and things like that,” Shanahan said last week during his spot on KNBR.

So while the 49ers are thrilled Mullens is their backup, that's where they plan to keep him. 

Overreaction? No.

In a short period of time, Nick Bosa proved to be one of the best in the NFL at his position. The 49ers will be unable to replace what he gave the team at such an important, game-changing position.

Not only does the loss of Bosa crush the 49ers’ defense, there is no indication that edge rusher Dee Ford will be healthy enough any time soon to help compensate for the loss to the team’s pass rush.

Kerry Hyder has proved to be a fine player through the first three weeks of the season. The 49ers last week added Ziggy Ansah and Dion Jordan. Those players have talent but not the consistency that Bosa provided as a rookie. And the 49ers are expecting a midseason return for Ronald Blair.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh might be able to mix-and-match combinations and scheme up some things, but the 49ers lost a lot when Bosa sustained his season-ending torn ACL.

This area is the biggest concern for the team that must still face Russell Wilson (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Kyler Murray, Jared Goff (twice), Josh Allen, Dak Prescott and a resurgent Cam Newton.

Overreaction? Yes

First, let me put this out there ... Brandon Aiyuk was the most-impressive rookie wide receiver I’ve seen in a training camp with the 49ers in a long, long time.

From Day 1, Aiyuk looked the part. Garoppolo fed him the football, and that’s a big deal. A veteran quarterback is not going to throw to a rookie receiver as much as Garoppolo did unless he is doing everything right – behind the scenes and on the practice field. Aiyuk has done everything right.

When George Kittle and Deebo Samuel return, the 49ers’ offense should be even better. This offense can be a machine.

As good as the offense performed last season, Shanahan never really felt like it was unstoppable. The offense should take over and be the strength of the team with the variety of ways it can attack in both the run and pass games.

While there is nothing bad to say about Aiyuk, I doubt his numbers will place him near the top of the discussion when it comes to Rookie of the Year. Kansas City running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, as we predicted before the season, is off to a commanding lead.

 

It was interesting Shanahan had such a high opinion of Aiyuk during the pre-draft process. As far as I can tell, he had CeeDee Lamb as his No. 1 receiver with Aiyuk not far behind. The top rookie receiver right now is Lamb, who has 16 catches for 230 yards with the Dallas Cowboys.

Maybe Shanahan knows a little something about wide receivers, after all.