The San Francisco 49ers aren’t expected to do great things, but the pressure on the team immediately grew following their first loss of the season, and the questions regarding Blaine Gabbert and if his starting quarterback job is safe immediately surfaced.
For now? Yes, he’s safe. As Chip Kelly put it, his hold on the job is on a week to week basis, which doesn’t sound like a whole lot of confidence from the head coach. Kelly said that he’s not thinking about replacing Gabbert, and it’s on the whole offense to play better. The 49ers, 1-1 with a win over the Rams and a loss to the Panthers, are only 27th in total yards this season, and in the bottom 5 of passing yards with just 407 so far in 2016.
Gabbert looked bad in the loss to the Panthers, completing just 17-of-36 throws with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He and the team were happy about how they bounced back from the big lead the Panthers opened up, but just like last season, Gabbert seems to have the support of his teammates, but not the ability to craft out something special from this offense. It’s not his job alone, but a head coach can’t do a whole lot when his QB is limited.
Overall, without impressing in either game this season (the 49ers won 28-0 in week 1), Gabbert has completed only 54.9% of his throws for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, with just 5.8 yards per pass attempt, posting a 74.4 passer rating. Surely, this puts the spotlight on Colin Kaepernick, who is the backup on this team if anyone forgot, usually mentioned these days with kneeling during the national anthem and the whole debate it has stirred up.
The truth is, Kaepernick isn’t ready, physically. He dresses up for games, but he’s still making his way up the weight chars. The different surgeries and his different dieting has left him short of the ideal 225 pounds he should be at, and so even if the 49ers feel like they have to change something on offense and drop Gabbert to the bench, Kaepernick isn’t going to be ready on a call’s notice. Christian Ponder or Thad Lewis could be the next ones in line, while Kaepernick attempts to get back to playing weight and condition.