Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Battle: C.J. Beathard’s latest injury could cost him in competition against Nick Mullens

Aug 13, 2019 at 3:05 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard's knee injury late in a game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 26, 2017, gave way to Jimmy Garoppolo stepping in and seizing the starting job after just under a month with the team.

Although, that was likely inevitable given the 49ers traded away a second-round pick for the quarterback. While head coach Kyle Shanahan insisted he was okay with not seeing Garoppolo on the field that year, you have to believe he was itching to see what his new quarterback could do.

Another injury to Beathard on October 28, 2018, against the Arizona Cardinals, this time to the quarterback's wrist and thumb, set up Nick Mullens' first-ever NFL start. The injury was a result of Beathard's hand hitting a player's helmet. He did not get back onto the field that season.

Beathard joined his teammates on the practice field on Tuesday, and his hand and thumb were wrapped. The quarterback, once again, is dealing with another injury. This one occurred on Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys in what would have been Beathard's last snap of the night regardless of what happened.

Beathard did not practice. Instead, he stood on the sideline with a hat on his head rather than a helmet, observing his teammates running through plays.

The quarterback who has seen his job taken away after minor injuries may once again have to move aside because of another. Beathard is in a quarterback competition with Nick Mullens, who is probably the odds-on favorite to win the backup job behind Garoppolo. This latest injury might make the decision easier if Beathard can't practice, or worse, can't get onto the field on Monday night.

Beathard is slated to be the first quarterback in after Garoppolo, who will see in-game action for the first time since his season-ending ACL injury last year. Mullens got the start against Dallas, so it is Beathard's turn — after Garoppolo, of course. Beathard could see a significant amount of playing time if he is healthy. Mullens played the entire first half against the Cowboys, and the 49ers aren't likely to take too many chances with Garoppolo, who probably won't play very long.

Beathard being unable to practice might work favorably for Mullens. Head coach Kyle Shanahan, after all, told reporters after Saturday's game that neither quarterback had separated himself from the other.

"I thought both of them made some good plays, but I thought both of them had definitely — each one of them had one really bad play," Shanahan added. "I thought they threw a pick that was pretty easy to see.

"I think Nick, the backside linebacker got it in zone. I think it was C.J., a robber safety came down and got him. They both should have saw. After that, I thought they both played pretty well while under duress."

Mullens finished the game 11-of-17 for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception while Beathard went 13-of-17 for 141 yards, also with a touchdown and interception. Beathard was also sacked for a five-yard loss and looked to be under intense pressure at times.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo is secure in the knowledge that he will be the Week 1 starter. He will be over 11 months removed from his torn ACL when the 49ers travel to Tampa, Florida to play the Buccaneers on September 8.

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