For now, at least, C.J. Beathard is scheduled to be the 49ers’ quarterback Sunday against the New York Giants.
But it seems there’s a possibility Jimmy Garoppolo could take the field at some point this weekend.
Beathard, the rookie from Iowa who has started three straight games for San Francisco, also will start Sunday against the Giants at Levi’s Stadium, despite the beating he took last week in a 20-10 loss to Arizona. In that game, Beathard was sacked five times and hit 16 other times while the 49ers were in constant pass mode. Beathard threw 51 times, completing 24 for 294 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He’s 0-3 as a starter – and the 49ers are winless this season – and his numbers aren’t good. He's been forced into the lineup because of the ineffectiveness of former starter Brian Hoyer and is playing for an injury-depleted team with a thin level of talent. He’s 82-for-161 passing for 941 yards, two TDs and four interceptions with a quarterback rating of 62.7. He's also been sacked 16 times.
So, obviously, 49ers fans are eager to see what Garoppolo can do. But head coach Kyle Shanahan has taken a cautious approach with Garoppolo since acquiring him in a trade from the Patriots, allowing him to absorb the playbook and get familiar with the offense and his teammates.
On Thursday, Shanahan said Garoppolo is making progress. Garoppolo will serve as Beathard’s backup Sunday and the head coach hinted the former Patriot could be inserted into the game if necessary.
“He’s a smart guy and works at it, so he’s much further ahead now than he was last week,” Shanahan told reporters. Yet it sounds as if Shanahan would rather not rush things.
“Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later,” Shanahan said of Garoppolo’s 49ers debut, “but again I’m not setting a date on it. I think I’m very eager, too, and excited to see him out there. That doesn’t always mean that’s the right decision, so that’s what I’m trying to balance out. If I just went off impulse and feeling, I would have done that the very first day, the very first second. But I’m trying to do what’s right for Jimmy and what’s right for our team.”
Certainly, the Giants present a golden opportunity for the 49ers to finally break into the win column. New York is 1-7, has struggled on both sides of the ball and – like the 49ers – has a number of key players injured. Oddsmakers have made the Giants 2½-point favorites, but this seems as if it’s the Niners' best chance to give Shanahan his first victory as a head coach.
If Beathard falters Sunday, it seems reasonable that Shanahan could finally signal for Garoppolo.
Shanahan says even his wife wants to see what Garoppolo can do.
“I’m trying to explain myself to you guys – trying to explain to her, too,” Shanahan told reporters.
Kickoff for Sunday’s game is set for 1:25 p.m.