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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers express confidence in Nick Mullens to lead offense vs. Giants

Sep 23, 2020 at 10:52 AM--

Quarterback Nick Mullens could get his ninth NFL start on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers visit the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Starter Jimmy Garoppolo will not practice today and is a longshot to play after suffering a high-ankle sprain this past weekend against the New York Jets.

"I would be surprised if Jimmy gets back later in the week," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. "I know he's still pulling to do it. But Nick's ready to go, and if something happens to Nick, C.J. (Beathard) will be ready to go.

"Nick's got a lot of playing time with us. 2018 prepared him for moments like this. He always does a good job in practice, and I'm excited to see him get his opportunity."

The 49ers coach was asked how much Mullens has developed since those eight starts in 2018.

"Nick's been great when he's got the experience," Shanahan responded. "When he got thrown in the fire, he played very well with little experience in practice because he didn't get a ton of reps, not counting training camp.

"This year was a shorter training camp, and he didn't get to play last year. So you go off of the reps he had a ton of, last year in the preseason and everything. I know our players believe in him, and he'll be fine."

Left tackle Trent Williams will be among those tasked with protecting Mullens during Garoppolo's absence, should the starter not play. The offensive lineman admires Mullens' work ethic.

"I've built a good relationship with Nick my short time here," Williams told reporters. "To me, he's a serious guy. You see him walking around the building, and you wouldn't know if he was a starter or third-string because he prepares every week like he's a starting quarterback. There's not a lot of joking around.

"You can tell that he's serious about his craft, and we're ready to go with him. We definitely can win -- we will win with him. He's a heck of a quarterback. Glad to have him as a backup, and we'll get ready to roll."

The 49ers signed Mullens as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss in 2017. The quarterback completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 2,277 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions during his eight starts in 2018. He went 8-of-11 for 71 yards and an interception in relief of Garoppolo on Sunday.

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