There's plenty of intrigue going into the San Francisco 49ers Week 7 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. As the 49ers look for their first win of the season, they'll do so with a new quarterback.
C.J. Beathard is set to make his first-career start after throwing for 254 yards, one touchdown and one pick in relief of Pierre Garcon in Week 6. Let's get into the mailbag as the rookie QB headlines this week's storylines.
Not sure if the first question is in jest, but put simply, Carlos Hyde wouldn't play 56-of-72 snaps in Week 6 if Kyle Shanahan didn't trust him with the ball. I'd bet that Shanahan would like to find a balance between the run and pass game, but that's hard to do when the 49ers face early deficits. Being down 17-0 isn't a recipe for establishing the run. Even so, the 49ers rank 14th in yards per carry but 26th in total attempts. There's no doubt that getting Hyde and Matt Breida going would help Beathard in his first-career start.
I think it's very possible that the 49ers utilize their dime package more once Eric Reid is full go. However, that has more to do with San Francisco's depth safety than Arik Armstead's injury. Jimmie Ward will remain an every-down player at free safety. Then it comes down to who plays strong safety and who plays dime linebacker between Reid and Jaquiski Tartt. Neither player is going to spend much time on the sideline as I'd expect the 49ers to find ways to keep all three on the field.
Playing all three safeties will also give some relief to the team's lack of depth at inside linebacker.
Kyle Shanahan said after the loss to the Washington Redskins that he believed Reuben Foster needed one more week before returning. That means he should be good to go against Dallas, likely in a limited role similar to how Reid is being eased back into the lineup.
It's far too early too look ahead. There are still 10 games left in the season. Let's sit back and see how the rookie fares. That said, if Beathard plays well and continues to grow, it will only give the 49ers more options heading into the next offseason.