San Francisco 49ers
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49ers might head deeper on QB depth chart
The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to go with Nick Mullens as their quarterback Thursday night against the rival Oakland Raiders.
Problem is: The guy who has been playing the position ever since Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt in Week 3 is also preparing to hopefully play.
So what's a coach supposed to do, given just one full practice in preparation for the nationally televised game?
C.J. (Beathard) would be good if we were playing on Sunday," head coach Kyle Shanahan reported Tuesday after giving his guys a day off following the Week 8 loss at Arizona. "But it's going to be a test for Thursday."
Beathard said he injured both his right thumb and wrist when he hit it on a defensive lineman's helmet on the follow-through on one of his second-quarter passes in the Arizona game. He credited adrenaline for having gotten him through the rest of the game.
But two days later ...
"My wrist and thumb are kind of messed up," he said Tuesday, holding up his right arm to show a soft cast that was applied despite the fact that X-rays were negative. "Hopefully (Wednesday) it will feel a lot better."
Short week of preparation or not, Shanahan claimed that Mullens is ready to go.
The former Southern Mississippi standout, who was on the 49ers' practice squad all of last season, has never played a regular-season NFL snap. But he did go 31-for-43 for 396 yards against mostly second- and third-stringers in the preseason, throwing one touchdown pass while being intercepted three times.
"(He is) as ready as you can be," Shanahan insisted. "Nick's a very smart guy who works at it nonstop. He'll be able to go in there and execute the offense and knows what he's doing."
Mullen rallied the 49ers to a 24-21 home win in the preseason opener this year against Dallas, throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Richie James in the final seconds.
"I thought he played well in the preseason," Shanahan praised. "Nick comes in there, moves the chains, competes hard, made some plays with his legs and his arm. Guys believe in him and he's as competitive and confident as a guy I've been around. If he needs to play this week, he'll be on it."
The 49ers have a third quarterback, recently signed Tom Savage, also available. He likely would serve as Mullens' backup should Beathard be ruled out.
Asked if he expected to be ready to go by Thursday, Beathard responded, "I'm hoping so. Yeah."
SERIES HISTORY: 14th regular-season meeting. Raiders lead series, 7-6. The home team has won the last three meetings, with the Raiders claiming the most recent 24-13 in Oakland in Week 14 of the 2014 season. The clubs have never met at Levi's Stadium nor in the postseason.