SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Nick Mullens has taken few practice reps with the 49ers’ offense since being elevated from the practice squad in Week 4.
In his role as C.J Beathard’s backup, Mullens’ main responsibility in practices has been to help prepare the 49ers’ No. 1 defense. He looks at cards with a drawn-up play that the 49ers expect the opposition to run. Then, he and his fellow scout-team players run the play against the 49ers' starting defense.
On Tuesday, Beathard was not available to practice due to a right wrist injury he sustained against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
“My wrist and thumb are kind of messed up,” Beathard said, adding that X-rays came back negative. “It’s two days after the game, so hopefully tomorrow it will feel a lot better.”
Mullens took over with the first-team offense in practice on Tuesday. But because the 49ers’ next game is a short-week matchup against the Raiders on Thursday, practice was designed to go at walk-through pace.
“You have to keep yourself mentally sharp throughout the week, so really I’m just playing the game in my head,” Mullens said of his usual preparation. “I go home, see what plays we have in for the week. Then, I just play the game my head before it actually plays out.”
Mullens spent all of his rookie season on the 49ers’ practice squad after signing with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent from Southern Mississippi. He was promoted to the 53-man roster after Jimmy Garoppolo sustained his season-ending knee injury.
San Francisco 49ers
Mullens has yet to appear in an NFL regular-season game. And most of the work he has gotten in practices have come when he is running another team’s offense.
”You’re not playing pick-up ball, but in a sense, you are,” Mullens said. “You look at a play and go through your reads and whatever’s on the card and look for whoever’s open and throw it."
There is a major difference, of course, when he is running the 49ers' offense in practices.
"You got to play it like a game," Mullens said. "You got to react. You got to know the reads and know the looks you’re getting. No matter what it is, you’re trying to improve yourself.”
Mullens completed 31 of 43 pass attempts (72.1 percent) for 396 yards in the preseason. He had one touchdown and three interceptions for a passer rating of 79.2.