Kyle Shanahan is not happy with the inability of the San Francisco 49ers to protect the football. Shanahan made it clear (again) that Nick Mullens, who threw two interceptions on Sunday for the second time in the last three games, has to stop committing turnovers if the Niners want to have any chance of winning games.
“You just coach him, try to get him to go to the right spot with the ball,” Shanahan noted in his postgame press conference, per 49ersWebZone.com. “I thought there was a couple he probably shouldn’t have attempted with where it was on the field. Nick’s done some good things, but when you turn the ball over that much, it’s going to be tough to keep getting opportunities.”
Shanahan does not believe Mullens’ play has been all bad, as the quarterback started out with promise against the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers coach criticized Mullens’ second interception more than the first.
“I thought he’d been playing well,” Shanahan explained. “We were in a tie game, and I’m not going to take a guy out in the fourth quarter in a tie game right after he throws his first interception, especially when the ball was going to the right spot.”
Shanahan Shot Down Notion of Mullens, Beathard as More Than Backup Quarterbacks
Any slim hope that Mullens or C.J. Beathard could emerge as a potential long-term solution at quarterback has since been dashed. If the Niners are going to replace Jimmy Garoppolo, it is either going to come through the draft, free agency or via a trade. Heading into Week 15, Shanahan admitted backup quarterbacks “usually struggle” when they have to play for extended stretches of games.
“Usually backup quarterbacks, when they get in a lot, they don’t last that long because of how hard it is to play for even starting quarterbacks,” Shanahan explained, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Nick and C.J. both have been in some really tough positions for backup quarterbacks. … I think when backup quarterbacks tend to play the majority of the year, they usually struggle. That’s why, when you have a backup quarterback, you’re always hoping the guy’s capable of being a true starter.”
Shanahan Denies Loss to Cowboys Means Jimmy G Won’t Return
Shanahan denied that the 49ers’ loss to the Cowboys means Jimmy Garoppolo will not play again this season, however. With Sunday’s 41-33 road loss, the Niners are now officially eliminated from postseason contention, and general manager John Lynch admitted earlier in the week that this would play a role in the team’s decision to allow Garoppolo to return in 2020.
“Us taking care of business and mathematically staying in this thing would go a long way to us having interest in those guys playing,” Lynch told KNBR prior to Week 15, per Yahoo Sports. “You’d be a little more inclined to (play them), though, if we still have a chance to be in it because they’re both terrific football players. They both mean a lot to our team.”
Shanahan declined to name a starter for Week 16 but added he would talk with Mullens and Beathard about his decision. With the Niners’ playoff hopes dashed, it becomes increasingly unlikely that Garoppolo will suit up again this season.
“We’ll see. I haven’t thought about that [starting quarterback],” Shanahan noted, per 49ersWebZone.com. “I’ll definitely let C.J. and Nick know first though.”
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