Shanahan’s former backup QB spoke about Justin Fields to Peter King
In Peter King’s latest podcast, he had John Beck on around the 33-minute mark to give us an idea of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Beck played under Kyle Shanahan, so he knows how Kyle wants his players to be coached.
Beck, now a QB tutor, works with Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and recently started working with Trey Lance, per a certain head coach’s request. You won’t find a better perspective than a quarterback coach who is working with these kids every day.
Beck touched on how once upon a team, he was told “the Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers plan” is the best way to go for a rookie quarterback. Beck was told you need time to adjust to the speed of the NFL and need to learn the offense.
Those days feel long gone. I can’t imagine a scenario where the No. 3 overall pick doesn’t play right away in San Francisco’s case. Even if it’s Lance, the way he’ll improve is by playing more, which you’ll hear about on the latest Shanaplan podcast.
King was head over heels about Fields’ performance against Clemson in the playoff game, where Fields outperformed Trevor Lawrence. The two discussed that game, and Beck was asked to tell us about the type of person, worker, and competitor Fields is:
He was a warrior that night, and he battled continuously after that. Most people won’t know this because they didn’t have an opportunity post-January to be around him, but he was still unable to be 100% for weeks after the last game that he played. That’s how severe that rib injury was.
When somebody plays that way, that shows just how dedicated they are to their craft, to their team, to being a competitor. To me, when I see that, I think ultimate competitor. That’s what teams are looking for. They want somebody who is going to go out and compete so bad that no matter what shot they take, no matter how bad it hurts, or even if they themselves know that they’re no longer at 100% or at 80%, they’re walking on that field because they want to be on that field.
In my experience with Justin here in California, he’s been great. He’s shown all the traits that you need to have to be an NFL starting quarterback. He’s shown the work ethic. He’s shown the desire to stay late. There have been so many times where we finished the throwing session. He walks over, grabs a drink, grabs his football, and walks right over and says, ‘hey, I just want to hit a few more things. I just want to work on this. I just want to work on that.’
A lot of times with him, he asks to come in on the off day and work on extra things. ‘Hey, I just got information from this team, and I want to go over it. Can you help me go over it the best I possibly can?’ To me, that demonstrates somebody that has a great desire to want to be the very best that he can, and he absolutely loves the game.
I think whatever team that picks Justin, they’re going to love the way he approaches the things that he does, and they’re going to love the way he approaches improving his craft.
Injuries have kicked the 49ers butt more than another team the past couple of seasons. Knowing what Fields played through instantly should have connected the dots for a lot of us. At the time, though, there was no way to know the 49ers would be in a position to select Fields that highly.
Aside from battling through adversity, Beck saying that Fields constantly wants to work has to vibe well with Shanahan, who screams “football guy.” The way he talks about guys like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle who eat, sleep, and breathe football, it would suggest Fields is the target.
If Beck had this glowing report about Fields publicly, I can’t imagine what he’s saying to Shanahan on the phone. My biggest takeaway from Beck on King’s podcast wasn’t just the work ethic but how Fields constantly wanted more. If Shanahan knows he can put a lot of Fields’ plate, we’re looking at a Day 1 starter.