Who is 49ers QB Nick Mullens? Brock Huard tells a story of the Seahawks’ opponent
The first meeting of 2018 between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t just billed as a primetime reunion between All Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and his former team, but also as a meeting between a former NFC West king and a revamped 49ers team led by their new franchise quarterback.
By Week 13, two of those things have changed. Well, maybe three.
The Dec. 2 meeting has been flexed out of primetime in favor of a Steelers-Chargers matchup, and will now be played at 1:25 p.m. The far more impactful change, though, has been the season-ending ACL injury to 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The final change is really more of a narrative shift: At 6-5, the Seahawks have turned what was an offseason full of doubt into an honest run at the postseason, with key defeats over three other NFC wild card contenders. Meanwhile, the 2-9 49ers are in last place in the division.
Who is Nick Mullens and what can you tell me about him?
During his Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk Wednesday, Huard told the story of a conversation he had with Mullens’ former coach.
“Do you know the name Chip Lindsey?,” Huard said. “Chip Lindsey was an esteemed high school coach in Alabama. He then went to Southern Miss. He ultimately became the offensive coordinator as ASU, and now he’s the OC at Auburn. Long story short: I saw Chip Lindsay a few weeks ago when I called Auburn, and Nick Mullens was making one of his first starts and Lindsey said to me, ‘I’ll tell you what, man, that kid is one of two quarterbacks I’ve ever coached in my life that doesn’t flinch. Every other quarterback I’ve coached for decades, when pressure comes, when negativity comes, when blitzes come, they flinch. I’ve had two in my entire career (that haven’t) and he is one of them.’
“Sure enough, in that first game Mullens just torched the Raiders. His second start he played pretty well. Now, he went on the road for his third start and Tampa Bay got after him big time. The Seahawks are going to have to do the same. But he is one tough Southerner. A very productive player at Southern Miss and a guy, from his own coach’s words, who won’t flinch under pressure.”
How has Mullens performed so far?
Mullens, 23, has started the last three games for the 49ers. The Southern Miss product began his year on the 49ers’ practice squad, but was activated to the 53-man roster after starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Mullens played a backup role for quarterback C.J. Beathard for five games until Beathard suffered a wrist injury in Week 8.
Mullens saw his first start in a Nov. 11 game against the Oakland Raiders and threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-3 win. His most recent outing, though, was more of a struggle: Mullens completed 18 of 32 pass attempts (56 percent) for 221 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked four times.
More coverage of the Seahawks’ win over Carolina:
• Rost’s takeaways: WRs Lockett, Moore come up big
• O’Neil: Seahawks didn’t win so much as they survived
• Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle’s hosts on Seahawks’ victory
• Janikowski’s field goal lifts Seahawks over Panthers 30-27