Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan says 49ers will keep 3 quarterbacks, 4 running backs on 53-man roster

Aug 29, 2019 at 11:11 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their 2019 preseason campaign with a 27-24 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on Thursday night.

And with this exhibition phase all wrapped up, speculation now turns to the decisions head coach Kyle Shanahan will have for the team's 53-man roster in Week 1. Speaking to the media after the game, Shanahan clarified some of the question marks he'll have to face during the process of trimming the roster from 90 players down to 53.

One of them involves the number of quarterbacks the 49ers will keep. Following last week's exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Shanahan told reporters he was planning on keeping three quarterbacks in 2019. While there was some speculation whether or not Shanahan meant it, the head coach reiterated the original plan following Thursday's game, saying the Niners were still planning on keeping three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.

While he didn't specify exactly who would be kept, the reasonable assumption would be Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. Wilton Speight, the undrafted rookie who closed out Thursday night, likely winds up being let go, yet could find his way onto the practice squad.

When asked when he would tell the rest of the team who would hold the primary backup spot behind Garoppolo, Shanahan said he would make the announcement "between now and Monday."

Beathard went 6-of-9 for 58 yards with a touchdown, posting a 121.5 passer rating in the process.

"It felt good getting out there, just running the offense and getting guys in there," Beathard said after the game. "Just getting the flow of a start and throughout the whole half felt good."

Mullens saw one drive in the third quarter, while Speight finished the game. Shanahan later clarified why Mullens saw a drive, while Beathard didn't see the field in Kansas City last week, specifying he wanted to get an equal number of quarters between the two.

Shanahan also clarified the number of running backs the team will carry.

"We're not going to keep five halfbacks," Shanahan added.

Doing the math, this would lead one to believe the Niners retain Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, to be sure. The question will be what happens between Jerick McKinnon, who suffered a setback again in his recovery from the 2018 ACL tear he dealt with a year ago at this time, and second-year pro Jeff Wilson.

Wilson managed 100 yards on 20 rushes against the Chargers, including a 41-yard touchdown on which Beathard served primary blocking duties. Whether or not that's enough to make the 49ers' regular-season roster is still anyone's guess, largely contingent on what happens with McKinnon.

Either way, though, Wilson impressed.

Shanahan and his staff will have between now and Saturday, Aug. 31 at 1 p.m. PT to trim the roster down to 53 players.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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