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Bolts Wary of New Niners QB C.J. Beathard 

It's always a blow when a team loses their starting quarterback, which is what happened when Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL injury last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Luckily for the 49ers, they had C.J. Beathard waiting in their wings.

In fact, they're counting their blessings.

"C.J. is very impressive," said 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan.  "He's very smart, he always knows the game plan inside and out, he works very hard, he is a thinker and he also is a reactor out there."

Thus, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Chargers aren't taking Beathard lightly, keenly aware of the challenge that awaits them come Sunday.

Perhaps no one knows that better than Desmond King, who played alongside the 49ers' quarterback in college at Iowa.

"A phenomenal athlete," he said. "He's very competitive on and off the field. He's going to give his 110 percent, and I feel like watching film on him, he looks more experienced this year for sure from last year."

So, what stands out most about his former teammate?

"I would say his legs," King responded. "Most quarterbacks can't run the ball (like he can). When he is active on their roster and active at quarterback, they switch a little bit up and start running more option, run option with the quarterback. So, that's going to put more plays into his hands. So, now we have to focus on whether (he's) running the ball, handing the ball off or faking a run and throwing it down the field."

"I see they are just as comfortable with him, and he does a good job scrambling around," added Derwin James. "He's more athletic (and) a good quarterback."

James stressed how confident the 49ers are with Beathard under center.

Perhaps the biggest indicator of this is that while they expect San Francisco to draw up additional plays that puts the ball in his hands as a runner, they aren't making drastic changes to the offense. They simply believe they can plug him in under center and be just as effective.

Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley echoed that same sentiment.

"It's the same style of offense," he said. "They're going to run the stretch play, the different runs they're going to do. Some movement, some wide motions and things like that. So, that doesn't change with a new quarterback. (Beathard) has ability to extend plays and do a good job there. (Plus), their longest explosive pass last year was from this quarterback. It's not like they hold back with him at all."

Beathard saw time as a rookie last year before the team traded for Garoppolo.

The grandson of former Chargers general manager and Hall of Famer Bobby Beathard, C.J. appeared in seven games with five starts last season, completing 123 of 224 attempts (54.9 percent) for 1,430 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.

While the Bolts have gone back and watched those games, much of their preparation has been focused on what's been done over the 49ers' first three games this season. That only makes sense since Bradley stressed San Francisco's offense will remain largely in place with Beathard under center.

"You watch the tape from last year, some of the plays from there, and then you focus a lot of your energy on these games this year because you know what they're doing," he explained. "I mean, they're second in the league in rushing. That's not going to change just because of who's their quarterback. So, I think those styles of play will remain the same in how they go about it."

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