Nick Mullens

49ers GM John Lynch gives QB Jimmy Garoppolo needed vote of confidence

49ers GM John Lynch gives QB Jimmy Garoppolo needed vote of confidence

Despite a 31-17 season-opening win over the Bucs in Tampa, 49ers fans already have hit the panic button. After feeling like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the franchise savior, the Faithful have soured on the signal-caller. 

General manager John Lynch, however, has not. 

"We think very highly of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, but we've got a lot of belief in Jimmy Garoppolo," Lynch said Thursday morning on 95.7 The Game. "Was it perfect the other day? No. But I think he brings a lot to the table and our team has a lot of belief in him."

Lynch's comments come one day after reporter Mike Silver suggested there could be a quarterback change in San Francisco, sooner than later. 

"Guys, keep an eye on this: Nick Mullens is Kyle Shanahan's type of quarterback," Silver said on the NFL Network. "He is almost a savant when it comes to understanding the offense. He really, really executes it in a way Kyle Shanahan likes. 

"If Jimmy Garoppolo struggles or continues to struggle, and they're either losing or he's not playing well or both, I don't think it's that far-fetched that they could make a quarterback switch earlier than some people might imagine." 

Garoppolo was uninspiring in the preseason as he works his way back from a torn ACL. He showed flashes in Week 1 against the Bucs, but was far from perfect. Garoppolo completed 18 of his 27 pass attempts for 166 yards and one touchdown while also throwing an ugly pick-six. 

"We're working hard to try to go out there and be cleaner as a team," Lynch said. "Jimmy is as well, but he is our quarterback and we're very happy that's the case."

The 49ers awarded Garoppolo, 27, with a five-year, $137.5 million contract before last season for a reason. They believe in him and will continue to do so until he absolutely crumbles. 

[RELATED: How 49ers' defense is changing Jimmy G's sideline habits]

Having Mullens, who performed admirably last season as an undrafted rookie, is a luxury. But Shanahan will keep calling Garoppolo's name until it gets to the point of no return. 

It's simple as that. 

Jerry Rice sees Nick Mullens adding pressure on 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Jerry Rice sees Nick Mullens adding pressure on 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

If the 49ers want to live up to their Super Bowl aspirations, the seasons could come down to one player: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco pointed out Wednesday morning, the biggest question the 49ers face this season is "Who is Jimmy G?" Garoppolo is 27 years old and entering his sixth season in the NFL, yet he's still a mystery. He only has 10 starts under his belt and is coming off a torn ACL. 

The pressure is on Garoppolo, and the main reason why could be due to the emergence of an undrafted backup QB. 

"There's some pressure on Jimmy also, because you got Nick Mullens right behind him," 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game. "So Jimmy knows that he has to go out and he has to play well." 

NFL Network's Mike Silver preached the same message Tuesday on 95.7 The Game, too. 

"I think Jimmy Garoppolo is under a lot of pressure to be productive and victorious early because [the 49ers] do like Nick Mullens," Silver said. "If you look at the type of quarterback that Kyle Shanahan's system demands, and who fits that, Nick Mullens checks just about every box."

Both Rice and Silver believe Garoppolo is the superior talent compared to Mullens and should lead the 49ers to a successful season, but they each present sensible cases. 

Mullens, who was named the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback over C.J. Beathard, nearly has identical stats to Garoppolo in Shanahan's system. When Mullens took over last season with Garoppolo sidelined, he threw for 2,277 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in eight games while completing 64.2 percent of his passes. 

In nine games -- eight starts -- Garoppolo has passed for 2,278 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions for the 49ers, and has a 64.8 completion percentage. 

[RELATED: How Beathard handled Mullens winning 49ers’ No. 2 QB job]

One player is making over $17 million this season. The other is making under $600,000. 

Garoppolo has to have a big season for the 49ers. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. 

How C.J. Beathard reacted to Nick Mullens being named 49ers’ backup QB

How C.J. Beathard reacted to Nick Mullens being named 49ers’ backup QB

Talk about an ideal weekend. 

First, 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens found out he had been named the team’s top backup quarterback backup for Week 1 of the 2019 season. Later that day, his wife gave birth to Mullens’ first son. 

The weekend was less of a celebration for fellow 49ers QB C.J. Beathard, though. A third-round draft pick in 2017, Beathard has started 10 games in two seasons for San Francisco, but he now finds himself third on the 49ers’ depth chart headed into his third NFL season.

“I know the nature of the business and how it goes,” Beathard said Monday, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was prepared for anything.”

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan maintained throughout training camp that Mullens and Beathard were neck-and-neck in the No. 2 QB battle, with both making strides behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The duo had nearly identical preseason numbers, as each threw two touchdown passes and one interception, while their completion percentages were just two-tenths of a percent different. Beathard did end up with a better passer rating, as his 94.4 ranked just a hair above Mullens’ 91.1.

“I definitely felt it was a good competition and each of us had our fair share of plays,” Beathard told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.

[RELATED: Wishnowsky's 49ers teammates went nuts over punter's big preseason hit]

Both have struggled to win games in the regular season when Garoppolo has been hurt. Beathard owns a 1-9 record as a starter. Mullens won three of his eight starts in 2018 after Beathard suffered a wrist injury.

Nevertheless, the 49ers will keep all three quarterbacks on their Week 1 roster, and Garoppolo remains fully entrenched as the team’s starter with the season-opening trip to Tampa Bay looming.