SANTA CLARA – Carrying two backups behind a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo is a luxury that tests the 49ers roster each time an injury arises elsewhere.
As more and more quarterbacks around the league go down, the 49ers have insurance, which begs the question: Might they trade Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard before the Oct. 29 deadline?
"Everyone knows when you keep three quarterbacks on the roster, always a possibility," coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday. “But they also know three guys that would be hard for us to let them go. We do all of them here. "
Injuries have hit quarterbacks hard around the league this year, the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes being the latest on Thursday night with a knee injury. A dozen quarterbacks are on injured reserve, and starters currently unavailable include: Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers), Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Nick Foles (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) – plus, Andrew Luck (Colts, retired).
"The more injuries there are, the more (trade) dialogue there is," Shanahan said. "You wait until someone pulls the trigger, and if they do, and if that will improve our team, there's no doubt we wouldn't hesitate.
“But we also know how three good all three of our guys are. It would have to be something that helps us. ”
The 49ers might need a roster spot to account for the steady stream of injuries. Six players got ruled out for Sunday's game at Washington, so if Raheem Mostert (knee) or someone else plays, a chance Beathard suits up as a No. 3 quarterback for the first time. (Eight teams currently have three quarterbacks on their active rosters.)
As for his trade potential, Beathard said: "I think about that a lot. I do what I've got to do here and just get better. "
Garoppolo starts a sixth straight game for the first time in a single season, and even though his stats are subdued, he's orchestrating a top-tier offense (No. 3 in scoring, 29.4 points per game; No. 4 in total yards, 408.0 per game). Most importantly, his rebuilt left knee is healthy.
Mullens and Beathard, meanwhile, are evenly splitting snaps on the scout team each week, and they're doing so without complaint, Beathard even noting that he's enjoyed filling in on special-teams coverage.
"A lot of time the better quarterback than what is actually going to play," defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. "Those guys are priceless."
A quick refresher on the 49ers' opposing quarterbacks and their passer rating: Jameis Winston (45.4), Andy Dalton (90.5), Mason Rudolph (81.4), Baker Mayfield (13.4) and Jared Goff (60.8).
Mullens returned the complement, saying the 49ers starting defense is much improved: “A couple of weeks ago have been noticeable that are significantly better than last year. Last year, humbly, it was fun shredding them up a little bit, ”Mullens said of the defense. This year is a very competitive environment. ”
Mullens went 3-5 as the 49ers start to close last season, promoted from the practice squad after Garoppolo's Week 3 knee injury. Beathard went 1-4 in 2017, 0-5 in '18; He nearly led the 49ers to a comeback win after replacing Brian Hoyer amid their last trip to Washington, in 2017.
SAMUEL, JONES RULED OUT
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and nose tackle D.J. Jones (hamstring) did not practice all week and were ruled out, along with offensive tackles Joe Staley (fibula) and Mike McGlinchey (knee), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (knee), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin), cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) ) and nose tackle DJ Jones (hamstring).
Running back Raheem Mostert (knee) is questionable after limited practice Friday and no work the previous two days.
Having six ruled out is a season-high for their injury report that drops 48 hours before kickoff. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews will make his 49ers debut and defensive tackle Jullian Taylor will dress after being inactive the past three games.
VERNON DAVIS OUT
Former 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) and running back Chris Thompson (toe) are among those ruled out by Washington, with cornerback Josh Norman (thigh / hand) questionable. Davis will miss his third consecutive game after being limited in practice this week. Last Saturday, Washington placed tight end Jordan Reed on injured reserve because of his concussion history. Also out are safety Deshazor Everett (ankle), guard Wes Martin (chest) and linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring). Left tackle Trent Williams is on the reserve / did-not-report list.
# 49ers offensive linemen wearing @SanJoseSharks flight to Washington sweaters.
Mike Person's idea, @ jstaley74 put a call into Douglas Murray, presto! #winning #undefeated #broline #edited pic.twitter.com/HbfDlXh1ij
– Cam Inman (@CamInman) October 18, 2019
ODE TO SAN JOSE SHARKS
All 49ers offensive linemen were San Jose Sharks' teal jerseys / sweaters for Friday's flight to Washington. Guard Mike Person hatched the idea last month, and Staley reached out to his Sharks pal, Douglas Murray, to assist with their order. The 49ers usual starting linemen initially received Sharks jerseys for attending last season's playoffs, and now all linemen can don the Sharks' teal. "Douglas Murray came through in the clutch," Staley said.
'DEEBO' NICKNAME ALLOWED
Samuel's real first name is Tyshun, although his father long ago gave him the nickname “Deebo.” Now giving approval for that nickname is Tiny Lister, who played “Deebo” as the neighborhood bully in the 1995 cult classic “Friday. "" He gets the blessing man, "Lister told TMZ.com. “Be one of the starting wide receivers for the San Francisco 49ers. Be a big fan of what they do up there man! ”
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