Vikings acquire QB Nick Mullens

The Minnesota Vikings have traded a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for QB Nick Mullens, the team announced Monday.

Mullens, 27, will have an opportunity to compete for the backup quarterback spot in Minnesota behind Kirk Cousins. In their last outing against the 49ers on Saturday, Kellen Mond(10/20, 82 yards, two interceptions) and Sean Mannion(10/15, 65 yards) did not play very well. The Vikings scored only seven points and lost to the 49ers 17-7.

Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was with Mullens in both San Francisco and Cleveland, so he knows the five-year veteran very well. 

Mullens signed with the Raiders as a free agent on April 1, 2022.

Last season, Mullens appeared in one game with the Cleveland Browns in which he started and compiled a 147.0 passer rating on 20-of-30 passing for 147 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Mullens initially entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, where he remained through the 2020 season. In addition to the 49ers, Browns, and Raiders, Mullens had a stint with the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2021 offseason and training camp.

Jaguars sign QB C.J. Beathard

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed QB C.J. Beathard, the team announced on Wednesday.

Beathard, 27, has played all four of his NFL seasons in San Francisco, where the 49ers selected him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Since then, he has appeared in 19 games with 12 starts and completed 291-of-497 passes for 3,469 yards and 18 TDs. He has also rushed for 233 yards and four TDs on the ground.

Most recently, he played in six games with two starts in 2020 and completed 66-of-104 attempts for 787 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.

The five-year veteran could be the backup to whoever Jacksonville chooses as the first overall pick in this year’s draft, which will probably be Trevor Lawrence. We’ll see what happens with Gardner Minshew, but it would be surprising if he is around after the draft. Therefore, this could be a decent opportunity for Beathard.

Beathard has a lot of interesting things going on in his bloodline. His grandfather, Bobby Beathard, spent 38 years working in the NFL, including 22 seasons as general manager of Washington (1978-88) and San Diego (1989-2000) and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Beathard’s brother, Tucker, is a country music singer, and his father, Casey, is a country music songwriter and has co-written singles for artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Kenny Chesney, and Eric Church.

Giants’ Jones on loss to 49ers: ‘We know that we’re capable of playing a lot better than we did today’

After three games, the 2020 New York Giants are looking a lot like the 2019 version of this team, which finished 4-12. On Sunday against the 49ers, Giants QB Daniel Jones had two turnovers (interception, fumble), and New York(0-3) was routed by San Francisco(2-1) 36-9 at MetLife Stadium.

In three games, Jones, who had 23 turnovers last season, has turned the ball over six times, including four interceptions. New York had only 231 yards of total offense on Sunday, and they did not run a play in the red zone. The second-year quarterback finished the game 17/32, 179 yards, one interception.

“I think you look at each one of those individually and try to understand what happened, what the mistake was, and move on from it,” Jones said after the game. “You know, I need to do a better job, and that’s something I’m focused on. I think those are costly mistakes, and I certainly need to correct them.”

Defensively, New York allowed 49ers backup QB Nick Mullens to throw for 343 yards and one touchdown. The Giants could not get off the field, and were unable to force the 49ers to punt. However, even with the struggles, DE Leonard Williams believes New York has a good football team.

“I do think we do have a really good team and a tough team, and I never see any quit in this team. I believe that we’re right there and we just need to fix a few pieces and a few little gaps here and there and stop beating ourselves,” Williams said. “It’s already hard to beat a team, and it’s going to be harder when we’re making mistakes on ourselves as well, so I just think that we need to overcome a few of those mistakes that we’ve been making and just keep playing hard.”

Jones echoed Williams’ sentiment, and he believes the team will improve moving forward.

“I think for us as a team, and for everyone in the building, it’s important that we correct the things that went wrong,” Jones said. “We understand what went wrong and we’ll improve from this game, and not to let it define us as a team. We know that we’re capable of playing a lot better than we did today. I think there were a lot of things that happened that were uncharacteristic of who we are and what we can be.

“As a team, we need to understand that we need to move forward and go back to work determined to play better and to fix the things that have gotten in our way these first few weeks. We’re not going to let it affect our confidence; we’re certainly not going to let it affect how we work and how hard we attack this week, how hard we attack the preparation towards the Rams. I think we have the guys in the locker room to do it, and that mindset and that approach this week will be key.”

The Giants have to get better play out of Jones. He has a lot of ability, but the turnovers continue to get in the way. It’s still early, and the Giants play in a lousy division. However, at 0-3, if things don’t turn around fast, it could be another long season in New York.  Hopefully, for New York, the turnaround starts next week on the road against the Rams. 

 

Rodgers on loss to SF: ‘It’s different ballgame playing in 20-degree weather with snow, cold, and wind’

Anytime you win 14 games in a season, which was the case for the 2019 Green Bay Packers, you could probably call your season a success, especially when you consider that the Packers were 6-9-1 in 2018.

Under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, Green Bay had a lot of success in 2019, including winning the NFC North, but they just were not good enough to get past the San Francisco 49ers, who defeated the Packers 37-20 in the NFC title game at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.

In two matchups with the 49ers in 2019, one in the regular season and playoffs, San Francisco dominated the Packers and outscored them 74-28, but according to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, the talent gap between the two teams is not that big.

“It looks pretty big,” Rodgers said after the game. “They got us a couple of times, but I don’t think it’s that big. I think we’re really close. We’re just a little more consistent performance away from consistently playing with these guys.

“We got them at their place twice. I’ve said this before, but we’ve got to get one of these at home. It’s different ballgame playing in 20-degree weather with snow, cold, and wind. It’s a different type of game to play in.”

The 36-year-old Rodgers, who just completed his 15th NFL season, is still playing at an elite level, but he is getting older, and after how things turned out for the Packers in 2019, Rodgers thought that Green Bay could possibly win it all in 2019. 

“Yeah. It’s a little raw right now for sure,” Rodgers said. “It definitely hurts a little more than earlier in the career just because you realize how difficult it is to get to this spot. With all of the changes this offseason, the installation of a new system, and a new program, to get to this point, you feel like it was something special because it just didn’t really make sense.

“We weren’t picked by most people to win our division, but we found a way to not only do that but to win a home playoff game and get to this spot. It just kind of felt like it was meant to be almost, so that was a little bit disappointing. It’s a little more disappointing when you realize that I don’t have the same number of years ahead of me as I do behind me.”

The Packers will always have a shot as long as Rodgers is playing at an elite level. However, they have to improve their run defense and get Rodgers more to work with on offense. In reality, anytime you give up 285 yards on the ground as they did against the 49ers on Sunday, it’s tough to win, and while they won 13 games in the regular season, this team was not championship-caliber, which means they have more work to do in the offseason to make this roster better.