Coach Kyle Shanahan would like to see the NFL respond by allowing teams to prepare for an emergency like the one his 49ers faced on Sunday, perhaps allowing an emergency third quarterback to dress on game day, but not counting towards the 46-man limit.
“Would definitely be in favor of it,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “We were terrified when that rule ended, no matter how many years ago that was. You kind of forget about it because you don’t see anyone having to go through it, but then you’re reminded how quickly a football game is over as soon as it does. So I think that would be really smart to have.”
In theory, a team would still dress a starter and backup. Instead of leaving the third-stringer in street clothes, he would also qualify, but could not play unless both quarterbacks in front of him were unable to participate due to injury. A rule like that would certainly have helped the 49ers last weekend, and it’s far from the only time in recent years where people rushed to find out who the emergency quarterback is. The same can be said of kickers, who would also benefit from such a rule change regarding their position.
On Sunday, that emergency quarterback ran back to Christian McCaffrey, who attempted one pass in the last two quarters.
There is also a developmental aspect to a possible change, as it could create room for teams to put an additional quarterback on the roster and/or practice team. At least, that’s what 49ers general manager John Lynch sold it on Wednesday.
“I think it would be good for football,” said Lynch. “You always try to develop these guys but you always weigh that up, carry three as opposed to their roster value to be able to accommodate a full complement of position players in different positions. I think if the league just gave you a little bit out there , everyone would be forced to do it, you would have more people in camps getting better, I think it would be good for football.
It certainly would have been good for football last weekend.