Kyle Shanahan said Monday that quarterback C.J. Beathard escaped serious injury on a low hit Sunday by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and added he likely would decide who starts at quarterback for the 49ers by Wednesday.
That’s the first practice of the week and whoever the coach chooses – Beathard or Jimmy Garoppolo – will need to get the lion’s share of the snaps in order to be ready for the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
“It definitely helps, especially when you’re dealing with two guys, one’s a rookie quarterback, the other one is basically also (a rookie) with him just being here,” Shanahan said. “To give those guys the best chance to be successful, you want to give them all the reps, which still isn’t enough reps. Any time you split those evenly it’s kind of a disservice to both.”
Shanahan’s decision could be made for him.
He said Beathard doesn’t have any long-term damage but is dealing with a left knee contusion and hip strain stemming from the late fourth-quarter hit he received from Bennett. Shanahan said Beathard is “pretty banged up” and that the team should be able to figure out how much he can handle from a physical standpoint on Tuesday.
If Beathard is unable to practice, Garoppolo would get the starting nod.
The hit by Bennett not only was low – the defensive end’s shoulder struck Beathard just below the knee – it came on a play that was wiped away because Bennett was flagged for encroachment. There were no whistles blown, however, so the play continued. It ended with Beathard getting injured and Garoppolo playing his first snaps in a 49ers uniform.
“It was pretty violent right at his knee area,” Shanahan said. “I’m sure that jarred something to his hip that went to his whole body.”
He noted there were a couple of instances Sunday in which the Seahawks came across the line of scrimmage early but the play wasn’t whistled dead. He said the 49ers will make note of those instances, send them to the league office and hope they don’t happen again.
Garoppolo entered with 1:07 remaining and immediately made an impact. He ran for four yards, connected with Aldrick Robinson for an eight-yard gain and then, with about 10 seconds remaining, scrambled to his left and hit Louis Murphy in the end zone as time expired.
Shanahan noted that the throw to Robinson was part of the play call. “He hit the guy perfect, in rhythm,” Shanahan said. The pass to Murphy was improvised.
Shanahan said he’s looking for the same sort of timing and accuracy from Garoppolo in practices.
“He’s gotten better,” he said. “It’s still a work in progress and will continue to be throughout the year. Hopefully, he’ll be a lot more comfortable going into next year.”
Et cetera – Shanahan said the 49ers are sending two more players – running back Raheem Mostert (knee) and offensive lineman Erik Magnuson (foot) – to injured reserve. Magnuson, who started at right tackle and blocked Bennett most of the game, suffered a severe foot sprain in the first quarter but toughed it out the rest of the game.
“I was pretty amazed,” Shanahan said. “Got a lot of respect for that guy for staying out there and battling through that, especially with how short we were at tackles.”
▪ Magnuson was starting in place of Trent Brown, who is dealing with a shoulder injury. The 49ers were optimistic Brown could start against the Seahawks, but he was unable to play and will be limited this week as well. If he can’t suit up against the Bears, rookie Darrell Williams Jr. would make his first start.
▪ Safety Adrian Colbert (thumb) will return to practice this week on a limited basis. Shanahan said Colbert had a better chance of playing in Week 14 against the Houston Texans than in the upcoming game in Chicago.