Head coach Kyle Shanahan alluded to the idea the San Francisco 49ers could make some lineup changes over the rest of 2018. Here are five predictions as to what happens.
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off their Week 11 bye, preparing for a road contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.
It’s a game that could see some notable roster changes. Following the team’s 27-23 Week 10 loss to the New York Giants, Shanahan hinted at the idea a good deal of roster shuffling could take place between now and the season’s conclusion.
Why not? At 2-8, the Niners are already looking harder at 2019 and determining which pieces have the best shot to stay in place. And that ultimately means whittling down the excess, evaluating which players and groups won’t hold a spot when it comes to creating the roster next season.
So, ultimately, that means there may be lineup changes between now and Week 17. With the bye week providing an extra break and practice time, such adjustments should come easier if Shanahan and Co. have indeed made up their minds.
Niner Noise already explored which backups should see some playing time between now and the end of the season.
Now it’s time to offer up some roster-wide predictions. Here are five of those.
No. 5: C.J. Beathard Returns to His Old Starting Role
Right now, the 49ers’ hot hand under center is quarterback Nick Mullens. Mullens’ impressive NFL debut against the Oakland Raiders back in Week 9 was offset somewhat by a relatively OK effort in the loss to New York. Mullens wasn’t bad, per se, but he wasn’t quite the game changer either.
Still, Mullens is a better storyline for San Francisco than the guy he replaced, C.J. Beathard.
So, why would Beathard wind up getting his old starting job back? The easy answer is because the Niners have far more invested in Beathard than they do Mullens at this point. But that’s not the entire explanation.
More importantly, the 49ers need to see if Beathard can gain some confidence back against some of the better pass-rushing teams in the NFL right now, namely the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears, both of whom the Niners play in coming weeks.
If Beathard’s struggles under pressure carry over through those two games, San Francisco should have a bona fide answer as to what the future holds with the second-year pro on its roster moving forward.