49ers add another quarterback in ex-Texan Tom Savage

New Orleans Saints quarterback Tom Savage throws a pass during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The 49ers purchased quarterback insurance Tuesday afternoon.

They signed Tom Savage to a one-year deal. For now, he’s the emergency third-string quarterback behind starter C.J. Beathard and backup Nick Mullens. But Savage could rise up the depth chart if one of those two gets injured or underperforms. Savage has more experience than both of them. He has started nine games in the NFL. Beathard has started eight. Mullens has started zero.

Savage, 28, was a fourth-round pick in 2014, when 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. That year they needed a quarterback, and Shanahan urged the front office to draft either Tom Savage or Jimmy Garoppolo, according to a report from ESPN. The Browns ignored Shanahan’s advice and drafted Johnny Manziel, who’s out of the NFL. The Houston Texans drafted Savage.

“He has a strong arm,” Shanahan said Tuesday on a conference call. “He’s a very tough player. He hangs in that pocket and plays the position well. I was a fan of his coming out of college. He has gotten to play in a number of NFL games, so he’s battle tested. He was in a tough situation in Houston that didn’t work out for him.”

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This article has 101 Comments

  1. Not only a good pickup for this season but could make the next training camp and OTAs competitive for the backup spot.

    Glad to see the move at TE. Dweller needs to get a look. Good blocker and at least in preseason showed good hands.

  2. San Francisco 49ers: It feels like the 49ers are wasting two years of Kyle Shanahan’s coaching prime, but there is no doubt they have the right guy. Shanahan’s offensive vision creates results like C.J. Beathard, Raheem Mostert and Marquise Goodwin putting up 30 points in Lambeau Field on “Monday Night Football.” Shanahan is Sean McVay without the infrastructure.

    Fair assessment?

    1. I’ve said this since last year. The Rams had a ready made team on offense last year. Shawn McVay was a great offensive coach to bring to that stable. Kyle doesn’t have nowhere near the same luxury. And it’s just my opinion but if the roles were reversed, the Rams would still be that good, because Kyle and McVay both are that good.

      1. The Rams have made all the right moves and McVay is a superstar. I think Shanahan is just as good as McVay but he doesn’t have all the ingredients yet. There are 2 things I think the Rams did right:

        1. McVay has done an exceptional job developing Goff. I was not a Goff guy – even last year. I thought he was extremely overrated coming out of college. McVay has turned Goff into a very good NFL QB.

        2. Hiring Wade Phillips as the DC was a stroke of genius. Pairing a young first time head coach with a guy who is outstanding as a DC AND has tons of experience as a head coach is the right way to go. In contrast, the 49ers have a young first time head coach paired with a young first time DC, and a young GM with literally zero experience. In the long run the 49ers staff might turn out to be the better group but it’s totally predictable that the 49ers are going through growing pains. IMO Wade Phillips impact on McVay extends well beyond the Xs and Os of defensive footbal.

          1. Yeah, I didn’t include Gurley because he was drafted by the previous regime. McVay walked into a great situation and Gurley was a big part of that.

    2. Of course it’s a fair assessment. As I’ve mentioned before the offense that’s playing a bunch of backups is scoring plenty of points to win (12th in the league). But with the clueless defense giving up ~30 points a game its no wonder we’re 1-5…. If I was to knock the offense for something it would be the TOs. Otherwise Shanahan is a good coach and things will improve dramatically once the defense gets the coaching they badly need…

      1. if the defensive talent was better, maybe the current offensive production even under center with Beathard would be good enough for a few more wins rather than close losses. mistakes in secondary personnel drafting and FA signings are the most glaring in addition to the failure to have a legitimate pass rusher on the outside. just think of the starting corners and safeties now playing in the league who could have been starting for the 49ers instead of roster players likeThomas, Pettis, Witherspoon?????/

        1. David Lombardi

          @LombardiHimself
          Salvaging a couple miscommunications in 2018 is not the 49ers’ priority or goal. They’re trying to set the table for 2019 so they’re letting Warner take his lumps now with the radio. They have full faith in his ability to master the job.

          Timothy L. Miller
          @Tlmiller20
          Replying to @LombardiHimself
          Communication seems to be a chronic problem? Should the green dot be removed from the rookies helmet? Given to a vet? Malmolm Smith perhaps?

          11:06 AM – Oct 16, 2018

    3. Excuses for Shanahan:

      Lack of talent – Shanahan and Lynch are directly responsible for the talent level. They got rid of a bunch of players that while they weren’t world beaters, they did have some talent (especially as backups). Some of the people using this excuse were also the ones championing the great players the team had at the beginning of the year.

      Inexperienced players – (see above) and given that he purposely went with youth (though not in every case: Garçon, Juice and some others) he knew what he was getting into. This also ties with another excuse “complex offense” that takes a year to two to learn. This will always be a factor given that new players are constantly coming in and it underscores why not to get rid of players for more youthful ones.

      Beathard is bad – well then why put the ball in his hands in a close game. Scheme so that other players can do the heavy lifting. BTW, Beathard is his guy. He went out of his way to get him.

      It’s really the D’s fault – the defense isn’t very good and Saleh seems out of his depth but these are Shanahan’s guys. He could have retained other talent or done something about the pass rush but said you had to be pretty good to beat out people like Marsh.

      What that leaves me with questionable evaluation skills and not a tremendous amount of decisions that have gone Shanahan’s way.

      Personally, I think McVay is a better coach while Shanahan May be a really strong coordinator.

      Now, I had no expectations that the GB game would be so close and I thought Beathard did a good job, in addition to the team hanging in there. However, I do agree with Scooter that the team is learning to lose close ones. Not a great trend.

      1. Some good points. I actually think that Shanahan the GM / Lynch… has let down Shanahan the coach.
        I don’t think the talent level was elevated that much this offseason with the exception of Jimmy… I know it was midseason trade but I’m including him.
        They made a lot of mistakes in terms of personnel in my opinion, making to many lateral moves that didn’t improve the team enough

        1. I think you have some good points too. My criticism of Lynch is that he isnt asserting himself too much. I guess it’s because he was hired after Shanahan. It’s clear Shanahan runs the show.

          I hope they learn quickly from their missteps. Otherwise, this team could find itself in perpetual rebuilding mode.

    4. I think it’s fair LEO.

      Kyle and John were signed to 6 year deals for good reason. This was never going to be a quick fix. It was always going to be a process. Brick by Brick. I don’t think anyone who really understood that process honestly felt like the 49ers would be in a position to compete for a playoff berth as quickly as this season. The fact that the 49ers were a trendy pick around NFL circles to possibly make the playoffs as soon as this season, speaks volumes about what Kyle and John have accomplished over the course of their first season.

      After all, Trent Baalke left this roster in absolute shambles, perhaps the least talented roster in the entire league outside of Cleveland. However, even Cleveland had a leg up on the 49ers, thanks to a treasure chest of draft capitol waiting to be invested. What did ShanaLynch have to work with? A #3 overall pick, and thankfully a lot of salary cap space, but also a free agency destination that looked miles away from being a competitor, making it a tough place to sell to free agents. ShanaLynch took over a team with no franchise QB, no long-term franchise RB (Carlos Hyde is averaging a paltry 3.4 YPC this year, and that’s in a system that fits his skillset) and possibly the league’s worst receiving corp. On top of that, their best defenders were all interior lineman, with nobody to pressure the QB from the edge and nobody who cover an opposing team’s #1 TE or #1 WR.

      So here we are 6 games into year 2 of a rebuild, and the 49ers are dealing with a season like no other. It’s a roster decimated with injuries to key players. Not only were the schedule makers determined to make things as tough as possible in the early goings of this season, they’ve lost their superstar QB and their featured RB. Their best WR has been injured for most of the season. And still, they go on the road against arguably the best QB in the entire league, temperatures in the 30’s, and they put on a show, nearly upsetting the Green Bay Packers who, BTW, now have the 7th best odds of winning the Super Bowl, according to the Las Vegas bookmakers.

      And what do Kyle and John get from the author of this blog, even though they’ve kept this very young roster motivated and competitive (unlike the embarrassment across the bay) despite season ending injuries to their franchise QB, and their featured RB among others, and are now being led by a backup QB with less than 10 NFL starts to his name? The same thing they’ve gotten since they arrived last year …. nothing but negativity and criticism, despite the rare, thinly veiled attempts to look impartial.

      Why would any real 49ers fan want to do anything on this blog other than use it to counter the obvious anti-49ers bias that continues to taint it?

  3. “By no means was he perfect” – Shanahan’s favorite line. Hopefully, someday we will get to the point that he doesn’t have to say that. But doubtful. I think we will keep hearing it.

  4. Last time I saw Savage, he was lying on the ground, quivering. KS must remember that play, since Savage was quarterbacking against the Niners.
    .
    KS sounds like he really likes Savage, but he also really liked Hoyer, and we all know how that turned out. KS’s player assessments have not impressed me.
    .
    Savage has a QBR of 72.5, but there is still a QB who has a QBR of 88.9 still unsigned. Guess they like inferior players, for the elegant tank. ;p

      1. That storm is coming November 6th.
        .
        After that, some one may be too preoccupied to worry about football.
        .
        Wonder when Kaep will win his collusion case.

    1. No, Shanahan just prefers a conventional passer with the skillset to run his O vs a one read and go running QB. Pretty simple really…..

      1. Last season he played, Kaep had a 16-4, TD-Int ratio and a 90.7 QBR.
        .
        Maybe he should have asked his buddy Matt Ryan whether Ryan would rather face Kaep or Savage.

        1. Last season he played, Kaep had a 16-4, TD-Int ratio and a 90.7 QBR.

          How many years ago was that? You blue hairs make me laugh!

    2. Sebs-
      you wont put out the stats for Kaps last 3 yrs, so we could compare those to what CJ has going for him………….OK.

      Then you should at least go on record, right here and now, what you know about football, specifically QB’s, that KS does NOT.
      Clear this up, will you?? Because otherwise, you are sounding like a one-sided bag of hot air–just a lot of belly-achin.

  5. Very difficult to tell what the 49ers have in Tom Savage. Definitely a career backup but he ultimately could be the best healthy QB on the roster right now. The problem Savage had in Houston was the Texans O-line may be the worst o-line in football. They almost immediately give up pressures on every play. Savage is not a mobile QB. The reason Watson looked so much better than Savage is Watson is a mobile QB who can extend plays with his legs. I think if the Texans ever gave Watson time in the pocket he could be a top 5 QB in the league. Tom Savage definitely has a quality NFL arm but he’s a statue.

  6. Well the Niners have signed a backup veteran QB. At least they finally concede that a first year and rookie QB tandem cannot win many games, and need upgrading.
    .
    Still think they could have made a better choice to improve the team, but at least they are trying.
    .
    Some say Savage has a strong arm, but I think his accuracy is suspect.

      1. I said first year and rookie. A rookie has no experience. A first year has a year’s worth of experience.
        .
        Why are you trying so hard?

        1. A QB in his second year in the NFL is not a first year. That is just common sense, which tends to be something you ignore in favor of myths.

          1. I was referring to their experience. I mentioned a first year and a rookie. One has a year’s worth of experience, and the other no experience.
            .
            Considering CJB has only started 7 games, he does not even have a full year’s worth of starting experience.
            .
            Keep trying, though. Next you can quibble about punctuation marks.

        1. I doubt it. Mullins will likely go back to the PS once Savage gets up to speed. No real reason to sign him otherwise unless they plan to keep 3 QB’s which doesn’t seem like something Shanny would do long term.

          1. I see Shanahan riding CJ till he breaks something. The way that kid handles hits he might play the entire year and Savage might not get a snap.

    1. Considering how bad the line was last year its nice to see the improvement. Next week will be a true test on how much they improved.

        1. Grant I agree, I use stats more or less for information. As an example the above article I see it as an improvement for the line whether they are the top three at their position or not I don’t really care – its just that they are improving.

        2. They claim they grade every player, every play, every game. I’m not saying they’re a scam, but, think about it, how is that earthly possible? Can anyone explain? Would love to hear.

          The only way I think it’d be possible is if they had a proprietary AI program, but they would’ve had to pay a mint to develop one, and I don’t think the current technology is even there for that kind of a task.

          1. They assign people to watch games and go over each unit George. It’s still not a fool proof system as people watching film do not know what the expectations were or the exact assignments each player had but they do go through a painstaking process to try and give some idea.

              1. Grant is a man of the moment. What was true yesterday isn’t necessarily true today. It’s the Hot Take generation.

              2. You’re slinging insults left and right. You should probably take a deep breath and look in the mirror.

              3. He ran himself off last year.

                My comment was civil. Jack Hammer has been civil. Rocket should be, too. No need for insults.

              4. Ok. We’ve heard from the civil plenary, but what about the legend? It’s time for Sebber to chime in.

              5. That set you off? Really? I didn’t call you a name and you are a hot take guy. Nothing wrong with that. It gets things going around here. There was no malice intended.

              6. What is it I called you? Refresh my memory because it can’t be what was posted in this exchange. I called Hammer a Monday Morning QB. Is that considered name calling now?

            1. rocket, think of the numbers of people they would have to hire and train, and that when these people left, they’d have to hire and train again. 32 teams, so 16 games a week minus the byes. Assume 5 byes a week, that’s 11 games, 22 teams. Assume 11 graders per team. That’s 242 graders. I suppose it’s possible but I think it’s a stretch to think they could maintain such a workforce (minimum wage, part-time, probably a lot of turnover). If I’m wrong and they actually do so, then I think it’s a stretch to think the product is very reliable.

              1. I’m not sure of their overall numbers George but they do have people assigned to concentrate on one particular area for each game from what I understand. As I said, still not fool proof but the best we have right now. Football Outsiders is also pretty good.

              2. 242 is not a crazy number.
                Especially since its a job where people could work from home in their spare time. They spend a couple hours each night and turn in the reports on Wednesday. The big issue would be quality control… at the end of the day some of the graders will be far better than others. Employee turnover would also cause major issues in terms of accurate grades as its subjective.

          2. Mike McGlinchey

            Staley’s opposite bookend was also superb in pass protection, earning an 80.7 overall grade against the Packers defense. McGlinchey did not allow a single sack, hit or hurry for the first time in his career. Over the past three weeks, he has allowed just three hurries, with no sacks or quarterback hits. The rookie has now averaged an 80.0 overall grade through six weeks, the highest of any first round offensive lineman, and was the third 49ers o-lineman named to PFF’s “Team of the Week”, joining Staley and Laken Tomlinson (79.4).

            It seems so long ago in training camp reports that Mike was getting schooled. Looks as though he did his homework….

    2. I think the Glinch’s grade is a little high for this game as it appears they haven’t attributed any blame to him on the sacks.

      However, crticise the grades all you want, they provide a decent indication over time as to how a player has performed. They are one of the few services that takes the time to evaluate every snap, and measure performance based on something other than headline stats, which can be even more deceiving than PFF grades.

      One thing I believe Grant hasn’t given the Glinch enough credit for is the number of dominant snaps he has. Yes, he has a few bad snaps a game. He’s a rookie. But he has also been having a lot of really strong snaps. Dominant snaps. Snaps where he is completely stone walling guys, or creating huge lanes for his RB. That’s what you want to see from a rookie. These snaps represent the ceiling. Consistency will come with time. And even then, he’s actually been doing it pretty consistently as it is.

        1. Beats me. McGlinchey and Person have been doing a good job in the run game all year. It’s allowed them to be quite balanced in where they run.

          Were you insinuating in this comment that McGlinchey hasn’t been having a lot of dominant reps?

  7. Just to satisfy my own curiosity;

    What with all of the moving around at QB, What happened to Jack Hennighan whom we drafted ? I have nothing against Tom Savage, but young Hennighan had a good camp and good showings in pre-season… bad breath ?…

    1. Jack Heneghan? He was an undrafted FA from Dartmouth who was a camp arm. He is not an NFL caliber player. Nice story because he got a chance to play in the last Preseason game, but that’s about it.

  8. Solomon Thomas

    Playing just 26 snaps against the Packers on Monday, Thomas earned the 49ers top grade on defense at 71.1. The second-year defensive lineman totaled three pressures (one hit, two hurries) as well as a run stop.

    1. His best grades of the season have come in games where he gets the fewest snaps. Maybe he’s just a guy that is best suited to a rotational role.

      1. I do remember reading that Thomas’ motor runs hot, and that coaches need to monitor his temperature and not let him overheat….

          1. I’ve got faith in him because I know he has the ability and work ethic. Can’t give up on him this early. Meanwhile, Day and Blair are playing better….

            1. Raz,
              I have seen improvements in Solo’ games. He is not getting hung up in the chest of the defender as much as he did last year.

              If he can continue to show improvement and develop in the next 10 games he deserves another year.

              Any word on Jullian Taylor? He had some nice moments in TC/Preseason.

              1. No word on Taylor that I’ve heard, however we might get a look at Harris soon.

                You think we can find a trade partner for Ward before the deadline for a 6th round pick? The way this regime has demonstrated their ability to identify late round talent, I think it would be a good move….

              2. Taylor is young and raw, but has good potential.
                .
                He is not needed with Blair, Day and Thomas playing well. One of them would have to become injured before they elevate Taylor.
                .
                I would rather they move Witherspoon. Ward, with his salary, will be hard to trade.

  9. 49ers vs. Rams: Sean McVay says he is ‘forever indebted’ to Kyle Shanahan
    By David Bonilla

    “Really enjoyed working with him,” Shanahan said of McVay. “He’s a good coach and a real good friend. We got to put a lot of that stuff in together. Just like you do everywhere and everyone you work with, you’re always a product of your environment. You carry things over, you change a few things. We’ve both gone some different directions over the last few years, but when you do turn on the tape, it’s very similar.”

    “I wouldn’t really say it was give and take,” McVay said on the conference call. “I would say it was more me taking information from him and him a lot of giving. I think, more than anything, just being committed to an identity. The way he prepared was so impressive, the way that he saw the game.
    https://www.49erswebzone.com/articles/120012-49ers-rams-sean-mcvay-says-forever-indebted-shanahan/

  10. Nick Mullens earns 49ers’ backup QB job even after Tom Savage signed
    By Matt Maiocco October 17, 2018 1:40 PM

    SANTA CLARA – The 49ers made a roster move on Sept. 26 that amounted to a huge vote of confidence for Nick Mullens.
    Coach Kyle Shanahan pegged Mullens as the quarterback he wanted to serve as C.J. Beathard’s backup .

    “One guy knows our offense and knows how to line people up and has played in it and has done a lot of good things for our team,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Our team has confidence in him. The other guy just got here last night and is just trying to learn what the words mean.”

  11. Sean McVeigh on Shanahan: “I think his ability to make things look the same, to attack defensive structures and rules, and manipulate some of their things, he’s a great coach.

    Reply: History shows the York 49ers have had exactly zero coaches who took advantage of NFL rules in designing plays. Bill Walsh’s bible was the NFL rulebook–he took advantage of anything, like a hungry wolf.
    Shanahan’s quoted as saying it wasn’t Joe Montana who was his hero. It was Bill Walsh…Careful what you wish for fans. The Tomsuala’s (press conference farting), Nolan’s, (Petioned the NFL to wear a tie on the sideline—his 1st action as 49er headcoach) or Singletaries (Drop your pants in during a postgame speach), are all to easy to find for the York’s. At least we have one whose read all of Walsh’s books, kept his father’s notes on Walsh and designs plays on the latest NFL rule changes….

    Remember, even your God, Jim Harbaugh, didn’t know the NFL rulebook and almost caused a team brawl when Lions HC, Jim Schwartz yelled from the sideline: “Learn the NFL Rulebook!” and Harbaugh retaliated by slapping him on the back at games end.

    A modern coach only cleaned house last year. Now give him a chance to build a roster !

  12. They finally listened to me Seb and signed a “veteran” backup QB. Now maybe they’ll hire an OC, poach some intel from Savage ( maybe he’s poached a poacher of LA info) and of course the hot dog vendor in section 209 that used to work for the Rams. Then maybe they can shape the Rams into only scoring 40 points instead of 55. Do they ever use a running clock in the NFL?

    1. Sigh, I keep telling them to become more disciplined, and work on their ball security.
      .
      How do they respond? With 3 turnovers.
      .
      Oh well, at least it was not 5. They ARE improving.;p

  13. Jason La Canfora Retweeted
    Joel Corry
    @corryjoel
    3h3 hours ago
    “The $20M per year highly productive pass rusher is going to become the new normal in the NFL. Get used to it.”

  14. Razor,
    Not to sure if there is a team willing to trade for a player who spends time on the sidelines and is oft injured.

    But if the 49ers can find a reasonable trade offer for someone who could help, they should pull the trigger on it.

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