-- LANDOVER, Md. -- The San Francisco 49ers' youth movement is in full effect and has now reached the most important position on the field.
With 6:39 to go in the second quarter of Sunday's game against Washington, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan pulled starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor of rookie C.J. Beathard.
The change at quarterback comes two days after the Niners released linebacker NaVorro Bowman in part because his eventual replacement Reuben Foster is close to a return from an ankle injury and Bowman's workload was being reduced.
Sunday's change was also spurred after another slow start for the 49ers' offense. Hoyer was 4-of-11 for 34 yards and a passer rating of 45.3 before Beathard replaced him.
Beathard, who had previously played just one snap in the Week 4 loss to Arizona, completed his first regular-season pass attempt to tight end Garrett Celek for 13 yards. His first drive ended, though, after two of Beathard's next three passes were dropped.
Shanahan had been asked about potentially making a change at quarterback each of the past two weeks and acknowledged that he would give consideration to making the move at any position where he believed a change might be needed.
That time apparently came Sunday.
"I think it's not just C.J. -- everything is on my mind," Shanahan said last Monday. "I look at it every single position... We can talk about the quarterback. There's no position on our team where it's, 'Hey, you're starting no questions asked. We're not going to look at anything.' We evaluate everything. I know you do that every week, whether you're 5-0 or whether you're 0-5. Brian did some good things in that game [against Indianapolis]. By no means was it perfect. I still expect him to play better. I expect us all to play better, expect me to coach better. C.J. is doing a good job in practice. I think he's gotten better each week, and we'll continue to do that with him, and if we feel it's the best thing for the team, the best thing for C.J. and the players around him, that's when we'll do that."
The 49ers selected Beathard in the third round of this year's draft out of Iowa. That he got his first meaningful reps in Washington is a bit of a coincidence given his family history.
Beathard is a grandson of longtime Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard. The elder Beathard's name is in Washington's Ring of Fame at FedEx Field.