49ers to start C.J. Beathard against Seahawks
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The 49ers are planning to give rookie C.J. Beathard his fifth consecutive start Sunday against the Seahawks, Kyle Shanahan said.
That means Jimmy Garoppolo will likely be the backup for at least another week after being acquired in a trade with the Patriots at the Oct. 31 deadline.
Shanahan said Wednesday that the decision stemmed from Beathard’s play in San Francisco’s first win of the season on Nov. 12 against the Giants and the fact Garoppolo is still learning the complex offense.
”Jimmy is more and more ready each week. Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough,” Shanahan said.
Beathard had his best performance to date against New York, completing 76 percent of his passes for 288 yards with two long touchdown passes. He also logged his third rushing score in the 31-21 victory. Shanahan had extra time to evaluate the decision during last week’s bye.
”I did go into the weekend and all week and into Monday considering Jimmy,” he said. ”But definitely the way that (Giants) game went, I know it was going to make it easier for me to stay with what we’ve been doing because I think we made a stride in that way. I don’t think it’s totally right for Jimmy, C.J., the entire team, the organization just to change that right away.”
Beathard took some hits after replacing Brian Hoyer during the second quarter of the Oct. 15 loss in Washington. He was sacked 14 times during his first three starts playing behind a banged-up offensive line.
But the starting unit returned against New York, and the struggling Giants didn’t sack Beathard and he was hit just twice after taking 16 hits the previous week against Arizona. The 49ers (1-9) are hoping the third-round pick continues to grow within the offense.
”There’s going to be mistakes, there’s going to be things I learn from as is any player, any rookie out there,” Beathard said. ”But I think that each week that I’ve gotten better. At least I feel better about the offense and things I learned from games and experience.”
It’s rare for NFL coaches to tip their hand so early in the week. Since Garoppolo’s arrival, Shanahan has waited until Friday before announcing Beathard would be his starter. He said announcing his quarterback now will make the rest of the week a little bit easier as he gears up for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s imposing defense.
”One, it’d be exhausting to talk about this every day. Two, I don’t see it as a competitive advantage,” Shanahan said. ”(The quarterbacks) got similar traits, so that’s why I don’t see a huge advantage.”
Garoppolo spent the bye week working closely with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, continuing to learn the elements of Shanahan’s diverse West Coast offense. For at least another week, he’s processing the system.
”The competitor in me, obviously, you want to get out there, play with your teammates and help the team win,” Garoppolo said. ”But it’s a tough situation coming in midway through the season. So it’s going to be a process, but we’ll get there.”
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