Editor’s Update: The Niners have traded with the Patriots to acquire backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round pick. Quarterback Brian Hoyer has also been released, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to go with C.J. Beathard over an ineffective Brian Hoyer in Week 6.
Based off the splits, this might have not been the best move:
Barring injury, there’s no way Shanahan can go back to Hoyer. One of the worst things the head coach could do is embark upon an interchangeable quarterback situation like that of the Cleveland Browns between Kevin Hogan and DeShone Kizer.
Hoyer was bad, but he at least had veteran poise within the pocket. Beathard might be tough under center, but he has bad pocket awareness.
And neither has been particularly accurate this season.
What the 49ers Are Doing Well
Again, not much. But if there was a stat to look at for San Francisco’s quarterbacks, it’s in play action.
Hoyer’s 74.1 passer rating actually jumped up to 95.1 when using play action, according to Pro Football Focus. Data for Beathard in play action hasn’t been made available yet, but the eye test suggests he’s slightly better off in this category too.
And at least both quarterbacks have shown a toughness when sacked — a combined 27 times this season.
What Needs Improvement
With Beathard likely cemented as the starter for the duration of 2017, one of the biggest notable problems would be to get the rookie out of situations where he’s pressured.
Being oblivious within the pocket hasn’t helped Beathard’s lowly 52.7 completion percentage, which ranks 32nd in the NFL and a few points behind Hoyer’s 31st-ranked mark of 58.0 percent.
Even if Beathard is safe within the pocket, the rookie’s accuracy remains a major concern.
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Week 8 provided a number of examples here, as Beathard frequently threw behind his intended targets, either leading to incomplete passes or failed opportunities to rip off large gains.
It’s possible Beathard is able to develop his skill set a bit more this season to account for this, but the early results haven’t been pretty thus far.
Like so many other positions, quarterback will be a pressing 49ers need in 2017.