Having a good backup quarterback has proven vital in the success of the team. Last season, Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles went from holding a clipboard to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as well as Super Bowl MVP accolades. While the Eagles were built for a championship run, they still needed a leader on offense after starter Carson Wentz went down.
The 49ers have a bit of a battle going on for the backup quarterback position between C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. The preseason is a great platform for a backup quarterback to shine, and it has been one of the more intriguing storylines of the preseason for the 49ers.
This has been a disappointing preseason for Beathard. Last preseason, he showed why he was third-round draft pick and quickly earned the backup position. Hopes were high when he took over the starting quarterback position midway through the 2017 season.
He showed promise at times including a near comeback victory at Washington. His lone victory came against the New York Giants but he suffered a minor injury. It was at this time that the job was ceded to Jimmy Garoppolo. While Beathard had shown potential, it was clear that he was not a longterm option to be the starting quarterback.
This preseason has been quite different. He started with an abysmal 10-for-20 completions in the opening preseason game against Dallas. While his completion percentage went up during the games against Houston (58.8%) and Indianapolis (87.5%), he did not throw a touchdown pass.
He was sacked on his lone pass attempt in the fourth preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The offense did little with him at the helm during the preseason.
He was undrafted in 2017 and showed little during the preseason. He only played in one preseason game for the 49ers that year and completed seven passes while throwing an interception. He did show some athleticism by running four times for 22 yards. He was a part of the 49ers practice squad for the 2017 season.
Mullens got off on the right foot in the 2018 preseason by leading the 49ers on a come from behind victory against the Cowboys. He threw the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds.
Overall he went 11-13 for 141 yards. He did throw an interception but rebounded to lead the team on two touchdown drives late in the game.
He led what would have been another game-winning drive the next week against the Texans but the defense could not hold the lead and the 49ers lost in the final seconds. Mullens led another late touchdown drive against the Colts the following week but ran out of time.
Mullens played most of the second half of the final preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He completed 10-of-17 attempts. He failed to throw a touchdown pass but did not throw an interception. However, he did rush for 19 yards along with a touchdown on just three carries.
Throughout the preseason he’s shown resiliency and leadership. Mullens has outplayed Beathard but is it enough to bump the incumbent backup for his spot?