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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Mullens’ confidence, command of the 49ers offense has grown since 2018, says Mike McGlinchey

Oct 1, 2020 at 11:25 AM--

On Sunday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens got his first start since 2018. He may get another this weekend when the Niners host the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium. That all depends on Jimmy Garoppolo's availability as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Mullens looked good on Sunday against the New York Giants. Really good.

The backup quarterback, who looked like a starter out there, went 25-of-36 for 343 yards with a touchdown and a 108.9 passer rating. He was in command of the offense and executed head coach Kyle Shanahan's plays to perfection.

That gives the 49ers the option to take their time with Garoppolo's recovery. For those who believe there might be a quarterback controversy brewing in Santa Clara, Shanahan quashed that chatter on Wednesday.

"This is Jimmy's team," Shanahan assured reporters. "He's done a hell of a job for us, and when he's healthy, he'll be playing again for us."

Still, it is nice to know that, in the meantime, the 49ers offense is in capable hands.

Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey also spoke with reporters on Wednesday and was asked to compare the Mullens we saw on Sunday to the one who started eight games in 2018, and how the quarterback has improved since then.

"I think his confidence was definitely up there," McGlinchey responded. "I think this time around, he knew he's had some accomplishments in this game as a starter. He's had success as a starter for our football team, and I think it was just getting back to what he does.

"Nick is as good of a pro as we have in this building. He's always on his preparation. The way that his mind works, and the way that he's able to think through the demands of our offense is as good as anybody. He's done a great job for us, and this past Sunday was just another example of that.

"He was so much more confident than 2018, the first time he went in there. He was commanding the troops, commanding the huddle, ripping the ball where he needed to rip it, and it was awesome to watch. We're so fortunate to have Nick being able to step in for us and not miss a beat."

While Sunday was his first start in two years, Mullens did benefit from playing the week before against the New York Jets. The quarterback feels that it was invaluable.

"I guess I can use the Jets game as a way to get my feet wet before I really had to go through a full week of preparation to start [on] Sunday for the Giants," Mullens said this week during a KNBR interview.

That allowed Mullens to feel comfortable heading into Week 3 when he proceeded to pick apart the Giants defense. While there were some stalled drives early on that frustrated him, the scoring onslaught eventually came and made for a fantastic ninth start.

"I was glad that I got playing time the week before," Mullens said. "I feel like that really kind of settled me in. It kind of reminded me, without preseason, about the speed of the game, and how it felt to run the offense. It's a lot different than practice.

"But then to go out there on Sunday versus the Giants, it felt really good. I felt in command. I was making quick decisions, and everybody on offense did their part. It was a great day."

Garoppolo. Mullens. It may not matter come Sunday. As Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told 49ers reporters this week, San Francisco is blessed to have what he feels are two starting quarterbacks.

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