Coach Kyle Shanahan officially tabbed Nick Mullens as the backup to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Mullens confirmed Monday.
“But that doesn’t really change my mindset,” Mullens said. “Just got to take it one day at a time and all three of us will continue to push each other and make each other better in practice and in the game.”
The move doesn’t come as a surprise. Mullens was better than C.J. Beathard during his eight-game run as the starter last season following Garoppolo’s season-ending knee injury in September. Beathard didn’t do enough throughout training camp and the preseason to wrestle that job from Mullens.
Shanahan notified his quarterbacks Friday, the day after the preseason finale against the Chargers in which Beathard started. The team made final cuts over the weekend and engaged in trade talks for their backup quarterbacks, general manager John Lynch confirmed Saturday.
But San Francisco will enter Sunday’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with three quarterbacks on the active roster. Lynch said the team had a firm asking price in a trade that other clubs were unwilling to meet.
“I feel like cut weeks are always stressful for everyone, because everyone just knows what’s on the line,” Beathard said. “That’s just part of the business of the NFL.”
It’s been an eventful few days for Mullens. He and his wife, Haleigh, welcomed son Luke on Friday after learning Mullens would serve as Garoppolo’s backup. Fortunately for the former undrafted free agent from Southern Mississippi, the newborn has slept well and hasn’t cost Mullens rest as he begins his new role.
“He’s a chill little guy,” Mullens said. “So everything’s going pretty good.”
Mullens and Beathard received nearly the same reps with the second string throughout the offseason and training camp. Shanahan made it clear the two were on an even playing field, even though Mullens was the favorite to win the backup job.
Mullens and Beathard thought their competition made each other better after both entered the league in 2017.
“You always hold yourself to a high standard, but at the same time you have the guy to your left vying for the same job,” Mullens said. “So your standard just has to be that much higher. Every rep, every throw, every decision, it’s being evaluated. But it’s been like that since Day 1. So you just got to have a consistent mindset and we both got a lot better through it.”
Said Beathard: “I think just mentally focusing on just one play at a time, not looking ahead. I mean, when you’re in a competition, you can really focus on, ‘I had a bad play here.’ Just forgetting about it and moving on to the next play. You can’t do anything about bad plays.”
Taylor loses walking boot
Slot receiver Trent Taylor had his fractured right foot re-evaluated in recent days and doctors determined he no longer needs a walking boot.
“I feel good with it right now. Recovery process is going good,” Taylor told The Bee.
Taylor won’t play in the opener, but he expects to resume running next week while the 49ers are in Youngstown, Ohio, preparing to play the Cincinnati Bengals.
Taylor said his foot bothered him throughout camp. Tests revealed a Jones fracture.
“It’s something that I could have kept playing on, then it could have just kept getting worse and worse and eventually been a really bad injury,” Taylor said. “So we just had to go ahead and get the surgery done before it got that bad.”
San Francisco kept seven receivers on the 53-man roster, in part because Taylor’s injury will cost him time during the regular season. Shanahan could replace Taylor in the slot, or “F” position, with a committee approach involving Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne, rookie Deebo Samuel and Richie James Jr.
Lineman Street has arthroscopic surgery
Defensive lineman Kentavius Street, who was placed on injured reserve Sunday, had arthroscopic surgery Friday and was seen in the locker room on crutches. He said the procedure wasn’t related to the ACL tear suffered before the 2018 draft that cost him last season.
“It was a tendinitis thing,” Street said. “I just tried to play through it as much as I could. I guess it got to the point where (the coaches) could notice it on film and they just wanted to nip it in the bud.”
Street said he was optimistic he could return when eligible Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals and would have more than enough time to get healthy.
Players switch jersey numbers
Six 49ers had new jersey numbers following final cuts. Cornerback Jason Verrett, who returned to practice after dealing with a right ankle sprain, is No. 27, formerly worn by waived/injured safety Adrian Colbert. Undrafted rookie linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair switched from No. 46 to 51, which was vacated by the release of veteran Malcolm Smith.
On the practice squad, running back Jeff Wilson Jr. changed from No. 41 to 30. Defensive back Emmanuel Moseley wears 41 and duplicate numbers are only allowed in the preseason. Defensive lineman Kevin Givens now wears No. 90 and defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga was given No. 92. New tackle Ryan Pope wears No. 71.