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With Nick Mullens Trending What is Shanahan to do?

There’s been plenty of talk lately about second year quarterback Nick Mullens and how the 49ers should handle his new found success. Some are talking trade, some want to keep him as the No. 2 quarterback, and others want him to take Jimmy Garoppolo’s job. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves lets look at the facts.

Since taking over for C.J. Beathard in Week 9, Nick Mullens has proven to be more than just a competent starter. In six games. he’s thrown ten touchdowns to six interceptions and amassed 1,754 yards passing. Mullens is currently averaging 8.6 yards per pass attempt and has a 96.0 quarterback rating.[1]

In the last three games, Mullens leads all other quarterbacks with 1,021 passing yards. Per game, Mullens ranks sixth in the league in passing with 292.3 yards, third in yards per attempt (8.64), 15th in passer rating (96.0), and 16th in total quarterback rating at 57.9.[2]

Those are some impressive numbers regardless of the opponent, at the very least it validates Mullins rise in the depth chart. He’s shown that he can be a trusted back up and maybe even give Garoppolo a little competition during training camp. But lets be clear, Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter once he’s clear.

That’s not to say Mullens can’t be a starter in this league, I’m sure there are teams out there that are willing to role the dice on Mullens. However, it wouldn’t be a prudent move at this juncture of his career. Never the less, some may argue that the 49ers took just as big of a risk when they traded and signed Jimmy Garoppolo. But before we crown either quarterback, perhaps we should give their head coach Kyle Shanahan a little credit too.

As Houston Texan’s offensive coordinator in 2009, Matt Schaub enjoyed a career year under Shanahan. He had 396 completions for 4,770 yards, 29 touchdowns, a completion percentage of 67.9, and a quarterback rating of 98.6.[3]

While play calling for the Washington Redskins with his father in 2012, Kyle helped rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III go 10 and 6, winning the NFC East. Griffin led the NFL with the fourth-highest scoring offense and was AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Under Shanahan’s guidance, Matt Ryan also set career highs; in completion percentage (69.9), yards (4,944), touchdowns (38), yards-per-attempt (10.1), yards-per-completion (13.3) and quarterback rating (117.1). Ryan was named the NFL MVP for the 2016 season, scoring 540 points, the seventh-most in league history.[4]

It’s no secret that Kyle Shanahan is one of the most respected play callers in the league, yet once a pupil of his comes out of nowhere and sets the world on fire, we want to claim them the next best thing since sliced bread. I’m not saying it’s all Shanahan, but lets give credit where credit is due.

Before anybody can come to any conclusions, it’s important to keep in perspective that Kyle Shanahan is still in the middle of a rebuild. Granted, there have been some glimpses, but at this moment in time it’s still way too early to tell who’s who and where they stand in the future of it all. The only thing we know right now is that Shanahan will get the most out of Mullens and that’s all that a fan can ask for.








  1. ^Williams, Jon (December 20, 2018). “Why 49ers QB Nick Mullens is unlikely to be traded during the offseason”. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  2. ^Wagoner, Nick (December 19, 2018). “Nick Mullens stakes claim to 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback job”. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  3. ^”Matt Schaub: Career Stats at NFL”. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  4. ^Madson, Kyle (February 12, 2017). “What Kyle Shanahan’s history says about 49ers’ quarterback quandary”. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
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