Maybe the best thing Blaine Gabbert has going for him in the eyes of the San Francisco 49ers is that he’s not Colin Kaepernick.
Gabbert has waited for the opportunity to start for quite some time after washing out of Jacksonville. Since taking over the starting QB role from Kaepernick, the Niners are 2-2, with Gabbert completing 63% of his passes (career high), throwing five touchdown passes and three interceptions with a 89.5 passer rating. He’s averaging over 240 passing yards per game, about a third more than during his days with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Is this the quarterback of the future for the 49ers? He has one more year on his deal, and there haven’t been any talks of extensions, so no. But the 49ers are pleased with what they’re seeing so far in his half-season audition, while Kaepernick, who was once thought to be out completely from the team, is still in the running, although it probably won’t happen without him taking a massive pay cut during the offseason.
Is Gabbert a better quarterback than Kaepernick? Maybe under the current conditions in San Francisco, he’s better suited to succeed, or at least not fail. 2016 is probably going to be one of the worst drafts when it comes to quarterbacks prospects in recent years, so salvation for the 49ers and finding “the one” isn’t going to come from there.
Since week 9, Gabbert has a higher passer rating than Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Aaron Rodgers. It doesn’t make him a Pro Bowl prospect yet, but considering how the offense struggled with Kaepernick, and it might have something to do with communications with the sidelines and offensive line, not just ability, Gabbert just makes more sense for the Niners right now.