Jimmy Garoppolo will serve as the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, an indication the team’s recent acquisition is picking up the playbook at a quick pace.
Kyle Shanahan said on Friday that the plan this week was to monitor Garoppolo’s grasp of the offense, and if it was coming along slowly, to elevate rookie Nick Mullens from the practice squad to be C.J. Beathard’s backup against the Cardinals.
“We were going to wait on that all week,” Shanahan said. “If we felt that if (Garoppolo) couldn’t go in and function, then we’d have pulled Nick up.”
Shanahan reiterated that it’s difficult to have three quarterbacks on the roster because the two extra passers probably won’t play on offense or contribute on special teams.
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Beathard will be operating behind a reshuffled offensive line that will feature Trent Brown at left tackle. Brown, who missed last game with a concussion, has practiced all week.
Usually a right tackle, Brown started one game last year on the left side – a 49ers win at the Los Angeles Rams – when Joe Staley was out with a hamstring strain. Staley will miss Sunday’s game as well as the following game against the New York Giants with a broken eye socket, but the 49ers hope he’ll be back on Nov. 26, a week after their bye.
The 49ers received some good news about their offensive line when right guard Brandon Fusco (biceps) practiced on Friday. He sat out the last two practices.
Staley on Cox – Joe Staley said he spoke earlier this week to Fletcher Cox, the Eagles defensive tackle who delivered the blow that broke his orbital bone in the second quarter Sunday.
“At the time I told him I was pretty upset, felt like he didn’t have to go to the head there in that situation,” Staley said. “But I’ve also been in a situation where stuff happens on the football field. I know him, I know he’s not that kind of player. So it is what it is.”
Staley said he likely would wear a face shield when he returns to action.
Cox was neither penalized nor fined on the play. Neither was Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham whose hit along the sideline on Pierre Garcon sent the receiver into a crowd of Eagles players and staff and ended up fracturing a bone in his neck. Garcon won’t play for the rest of the season, though the injury is not career-ending.
Shanahan was asked about the questionable plays.
“I’m not going to say I have issues with them, but we did lose two of our best players on offense on two plays that we felt there should have been flags thrown on,” he said.
Et cetera – In addition to Staley, defensive tackle D.J. Jones (knee), defensive end Aaron Lynch (calf), defensive end Solomon Thomas (knee) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (quadriceps) will miss Sunday’s game.
▪ Garcon and tackle Garry Gilliam (knee) likely will go on injured reserve Saturday. That will allow the 49ers to take defensive end Ronald Blair (hand) off of injured reserve and to elevate rookie offensive tackle Darrell Williams from the practice squad.
▪ Linebacker Reuben Foster (ribs) is questionable. Running back Matt Breida (knee) is full go.