By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
SANTA CLARA — It may not be how he wanted to get the nod as a starting quarterback in the NFL, but C.J. Beathard is ready to take the reins for the San Francisco 49ers.
“People say it but no one really believes it; you really are just one play away,” Beathard said on Wednesday, after the team officially placed Jimmy Garoppolo on injured reserve with a torn ACL. “That’s why you’ve got to make sure you’re prepared as much as possible and prepare as if you are the starter.”
In Beathard’s case, that mentality goes further than just a means of preparation. In 2017, the Iowa product started in five games for San Francisco after head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to bench Brian Hoyer in Week 6 of the regular season. Between then and Garoppolo’s first start in Week 13 against the Chicago Bears, Beathard, then a rookie, took hundreds of snaps under center, allowing him to gain a true understanding of how to play quarterback at the NFL level. It also let Beathard, then 24, adjust to the speed and timing of pro ball.
“Having gone out there and played in five NFL games, there’s nothing you can do to simulate those reps in practice,” Beathard said. “The only way you can do it is by going out there and actually getting those game-time reps.”
On top of being able to see the game from a first-person perspective on the field, Beathard also says spending the entire 2017 season in Shanahan’s complex offensive system makes the transition to becoming a starter that much easier.
Shanahan has been known to run an intricate offense. Several 49ers players, including Garoppolo, have admitted difficulties in absorbing the scheme.
“Going through it the first time and stuff, it’s always slower no matter how hard you work at it,” Shanahan said of learning the offense. “But, when you go through it for yourself, then the next year you actually know why you’re working on stuff. I think when you know the why’s and you have the experience of it, I think it’s a lot easier.”
In the past several days, teammates ranging from fullback Kyle Juszczyk and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin to left tackle Joe Staley and even inside linebacker Reuben Foster, have offered votesof confidence.
“I have a great deal of confidence in C.J. [Beathard],” said Goodwin. “He helped us get out first win of the season last year. There’s no doubt that he’ll come in and assume this role and study up and do what he needs to do to help us win.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from the team, guys saying they believe in me and all this stuff, which is great,” said Beathard. “You’ve just gotta have that mentality, next man up and you’ve got to believe in that teammate no matter what the position is.”
– The status of running back Matt Breida is up in the air as the second-year back did not practice on Wednesday.
Breida, who suffered a hyperextended knee on Sunday, was seen wearing a walking boot on his left leg and had a noticeable limp exiting the locker room.
After three weeks of play, Breida, the Georgia Southern product, is tied with Cowboy’s running back Ezekiel Elliott as the NFL’s leading rusher with 274 yards on the ground.
– The 49ers have officially placed Garoppolo on injury reserve following the confirmation of a torn ACL on Monday.
As a result, San Francisco has promoted practice squad quarterback Nick Mullens to the active roster as the team’s new backup for Beathard.
Mullens joined the 49ers in 2017 as an undrafted free agent and spent all of last season on the team’s practice squad.
– San Francisco signed defensive end Ryan Delaire, offensive lineman Christian DiLauro and safety Dexter McCoil to their practice squad, after promoting safety Tyvis Powell and Mullens and seeing defensive end Daeshon Hall signed by the Houston Texans.
– Starting safeties Adrian Colbert (hip) and Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) did not practice. Also on the DNP list: guards Mike Person (knee) and Joshua Garnett (toe) and cornerback Richard Sherman (toe, expected to miss several games). Goodwin (quadriceps) was limited.