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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan impressed with ‘very efficient’ Nick Mullens, other 49ers filling in

Sep 29, 2020 at 6:35 AM--

Do we have a quarterback controversy brewing in San Francisco?

I'm joking.

Despite what you might read on social media, Jimmy Garoppolo will likely return as the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback whenever he is healthy enough to do so. In the meantime, Nick Mullens looks perfectly capable of filling in.

Mullens was 25-of-36 for 343 yards with a touchdown, a passer rating of 108.9, and earned the highest grade among offensive players by Pro Football Focus during the 49ers' 36-9 drubbing of the New York Giants on Sunday.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan is confident in Mullens' ability to carry the 49ers offense as the team deals with several injuries.

"He was very efficient and made all the plays that were there and then made a number of plays that weren't there," Shanahan told reporters on Monday. "Extended a few, had a few big third downs, a few big second and longs. He kept us on the field for a while and played tough, and I was very impressed with him. Each time I watch it, I feel stronger about that."

Garoppolo had a slight chance to play on Sunday after suffering a high-ankle sprain the week before against the New York Jets. We'll see if he can get onto the practice field this week. It sounds like the team's franchise quarterback is doing a lot better after the time off.

"I think he had a good week (last week)," Shanahan said of Garoppolo. "We thought maybe he had a slight chance at the end of the week to come out there and see how he could do on Friday, and we didn't get to that point.

"We'll see how it is this week. I know he's doing a lot better now than he did last week, but I'm still not sure about Wednesday. I know he needs these two days to keep rehabbing, and we'll evaluate it then."

In the meantime, Shanahan feels the 49ers are more capable of overcoming injuries this season because they had to do so last year. The team's backups already have a fair amount of experience because of that.

"They have been in there before," Shanahan said. "Guys like Ross Dwelley, who got to play a lot. That's how (offensive linemen Justin) Skule and (Daniel) Brunskill got their starts last year when I think they had about four games when we lost our tackles and stuff. That's why Jeff Wilson, it wasn't his first time out there.

"So, I think we've been in that situation where guys have gotten some opportunities. I think we had a little bit of better luck last year than the year before, but it was good for those guys to get out there again, and I thought, for the most part, they all played better."

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