With the San Francisco 49ers winless after five games — and rarely finding the end zone — many Niner fans are pleading for a quarterback change. When will head coach Kyle Shanahan switch QBs from Brian Hoyer to rookie C.J. Beathard?
When the San Francisco 49ers moved up to draft quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, it was a matter of when — and not if — the rookie would start for the 49ers this season.
Now that the 49ers have lost their first five games — three of which without scoring a touchdown — many fans are wondering if the time is now.
The Niners aren’t losing games because of their defense, which has been a surprising bright spot in 2017. The 49ers are losing games because of their lack of offense — highlighted by a third-down conversion rate under 30 percent, as well as a league-leading 49 penalties.
Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer’s erratic play is a major reason behind the team’s offensive woes. In the three games where Hoyer posted a quarterback rating under 71, the 49ers scored a total of 27 points, all via field goals; in the two games where his quarterback rating was 98 or higher, the Niners scored seven touchdowns, and a total of 62 points:
Hoyer’s QB rating was under 71 in 3 games: Team scored 27 points, 0 TDs. Hoyer’s QB rating was 98+ in 2 games: 62 points, 7 TDs. #49ers
— Chris Wilson (@cgawilson) October 11, 2017
Last season, quarterback Blaine Gabbert lost his starting job after Week 5; how do the two quarterbacks’ numbers compare?
Regardless of fans’ desires, Beathard won’t be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in Washington on Sunday, but barring stark improvement from Hoyer, Beathard will soon get his opportunity to play.
So, when is the best time for Shanahan to insert the rookie into the starting lineup? Let’s take a look at the team’s remaining schedule:
If Hoyer continues his inconsistent level of play, look for Shanahan to make a quarterback switch when the team returns to Levi’s Stadium on November 5. If Hoyer improves his game, Beathard will still get his chance, but he will likely have to wait until December for his first opportunity.
Either way, Shanahan will want to see what he has in Beathard before the team enters free agency and next year’s NFL Draft. Expect Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to ensure they have their franchise quarterback on the San Francisco 49ers roster by the beginning of the 2018 season.