Akash's Monday Morning Blitz XI: There's a Youth Movement in Santa Clara
Kyle Shanahan must have heard our complaints across the country in Washington D.C. After QB Brian Hoyer's 4-of-11 start, the 49ers' head coach had seen enough. San Francisco wasn't playing well as a team, but Hoyer looked entirely awful on the field.
Shanahan needed a spark and leaned on his third-round rookie to deliver. When QB C.J. Beathard entered the game, the 49ers were down 17-0, and quickly he erased that deficit and had the 49ers believing again.
But the youth movement in Santa Clara began earlier in the week, when the 49ers made a surprising move and released LB NaVorro Bowman. It wasn't a direct indictment on the play of Ray-Ray Armstrong or Brock Coyle, but more an indication that the rest of 2017 was going to be used for evaluation of the younger players on the team.
San Francisco sits at 0-6 and with no real aim to contend this season, it makes the most sense to see what you have on the roster. While the younger players were beginning to find their way onto the field at the other positions, the veteran quarterback, Brian Hoyer, remained.
The 49ers' head coach was adamant with the media this week that Hoyer will not be replaced by Beathard, while directly criticizing Hoyer's poor performances thus far.
A few meaningless drives in on Sunday, Shanahan had seen enough from his veteran signal caller. In came the rookie, providing a spark to the entire San Francisco team.
His box score didn't look that great, finishing the game 19-of-36, for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but you could tell the entire team began to rally around Beathard.
The defense suddenly found some life and receivers were going up to make difficult catches -- while ex-Iowa teammate George Kittle had a few bad drops.
The Redskins-49ers game came down to the wire and if it wasn't for a terrible offensive pass interference call, the 49ers might have had an opportunity to win the game off of Robbie Gould's foot.
Other positions with youth movement included safety. S Eric Reid returned from injury, but Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward still found a majority of the snaps. They've become one of the hardest-hitting safety tandems in the NFL, making Reid expendable in the process.
RB Carlos Hyde is reportedly on the block, but he still managed to carry the ball 13 times, while second-in-command Matt Breida only got four touches.
2017 is a lost cause for the 49ers. They may win one or two games the rest of the way out, but it's the perfect time to evaluate the youth on your roster. It started today in Washington with Beathard getting in the game and it's going to continue for the rest of the year.
It may not generate as many wins as the 49ers' fans would hope, it's going to create a lot of buzz and excitement of what's to come.