Kyle Shanahan said C.J. Beathard will start at quarterback against the Giants on Sunday.
Beyond that, though, all bets are off.
“It’s not a ‘no matter what’ at all,” the 49ers coach said of sticking with Beathard with the team’s newest quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, waiting to make his debut.
The 49ers traded for Garoppolo from the Patriots just more than a week ago, and he will enter Sunday’s game as the backup.
“Last week was kind of crazy,” Shanahan said on a conference call with New York reporters on Wednesday. “He got in here on Tuesday night. He’s never been in an offense with our type of verbiage and nothing close to it, so everything was backwards for him. He grinded hard Tuesday night, Wednesday, Thursday. Friday was the real test to see if we could have a game plan together to where he could come in as a backup if needed [against the Cardinals] and he passed, so we had a small package that he could get us through a game. He came in this week on Monday, he works real hard on Monday and Tuesday, and just to where he’s at right now is much farther ahead than last week. So, I feel confident he’ll be further along this week.
“Still plan on going with C.J. because I know he’s not there yet, but I’ve been excited about his progress.”
That means that the Giants have to be ready for either quarterback. That’s not as hard as it may sound in this case. Ben McAdoo said Beathard and Garoppolo are both pocket passers and he is more focused on defending Shanahan’s system than any individual quarterback.
“I don’t think he’s going to deviate too far from their system,” McAdoo said. “Especially with two similar-type players that play the position in the pocket. So, you’re going to get the system. You have to prepare for what you’re going to see in the system. They challenge you many ways in the system and the system really can fit any quarterback.”
Besides, the Giants have faced Garoppolo when he was a backup for the Patriots in preseason games (although he did not play in this year’s meeting).
“We’re familiar with Garoppolo, and we’ll have a plan in place,” McAdoo said.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are getting familiar with him, too.
“Everyone is very eager to see Jimmy get in, especially after you make that type of trade,” Shanahan said. “And I am, too. Everyone is. But one of the reasons I came here is because I thought I’d be in a position to truly make what I felt was the right decision for our team and that’s what’s kind of nice about this situation. I don’t feel any pressure to play this guy because of our record, or pressure to play him because everyone wants him to come in and save our season.
“I want to make sure that we play him because Jimmy has a chance to be successful, it has a chance to help him, and it has a chance to help our team. And that’s something that I’m looking at on a day-to-day basis . . . We don’t have a lot of our guys out there that we’ve been playing with this year and that’s definitely a tough situation for C.J. That’s a tough situation for any quarterback, let alone a quarterback that doesn’t know the offense inside and out and is very far from that. So, I’m really trying to be patient with this and make sure that when he does go in, he has an opportunity to be successful.”