The battle between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard is far from over.
Three exhibition games and several weeks remain until the 49ers’ regular-season opener, so head coach Kyle Shanahan has plenty of time to pick a No. 2 quarterback to back up starter Jimmy Garoppolo.
So far, the competition has been almost even, in practices and the exhibition opener this past Saturday night. In that game vs. the Dallas Cowboys, Mullens was 11-of-17 passing for 105 yards, a touchdown to rookie receiver Jalen Hurd and an interception. Beathard was 13-of-17 for 141 yards with a TD pass to Hurd, with an interception.
Each has split snaps with the second unit, getting almost equal playing time. And, each will get the chance to face the Denver Broncos in joint practices later this week in Colorado, before facing the same team Monday night in Exhibition No. 2.
Garoppolo is scheduled to start Monday’s game, with Beathard and then Mullens set to relieve him. Shanahan has called the battle even, with neither quarterback holding an edge.
When asked after Saturday’s game if Mullens or Beathard had an advantage, he said, "No."
"I thought both of them made some good plays, but I thought both of them definitely had one really bad play," he said. "Thought that they (each) threw a pick that was pretty easy to see."
Mullens, who took over from Beathard last season and held on to the job (after Garoppolo was lost to injury), says it’s a fierce but friendly competition.
"Me and C.J. are great friends," Mullens told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. "We have a great relationship and we both understand the business. We’re just doing what we’re told. 'Nick, it’s your turn to play. C.J., it’s your turn to play.'
"That’s what we do. We battle, we support each other, and it’s been great so far."