The San Francisco 49ers are bad, and their starting quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, is also bad. Gabbert was terrible against the Cardinals last night, throwing for just 162 yards while getting picked off twice, and he’s now got six picks and five TDs to go along with a completion percentage of 58. The Niners are 1-4, and it’s starting to look like a quarterback change is imminent.
Head coach Chip Kelly has previously been supportive of Gabbert’s hold on the No. 1 spot, but after last night’s game he admitted that a potential quarterback change is on the table. When asked directly if Colin Kaepernick—who is a quarterback who once led the team to the Super Bowl, you’ll recall, and not just a social-justice activist—would start next week against Buffalo, Kelly answered (via Mercury News):
“I think we’re going to look at everything,” Kelly said. “I mean, we’re 1-4, we’ve got to make sure that we’re going out there and giving us the best chance to win, so we’re going to look at everything.”
Meanwhile, Gabbert’s teammates weren’t exactly circling the wagons around their struggling quarterback. Center Dan Kilgore told reporters that the vibe among his teammates is “frustrated,” and All-Pro tackle Joe Staley dodged a bit when he was asked if Gabbert should still be the starter going forward (via SF Gate):
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just know that we have to do better job. The turnover battle was 3-0. That’s just execution across the whole board. Everybody is in on this. You can’t point the finger to one guy.”
As for how 49ers fans are feeling:
Putting aside what starting Kaepernick would mean for the 49ers from a PR standpoint, it’s hard to find good football reasons to keep running Gabbert out there. He’s 9-31 as a starter, has thrown one more touchdown than interceptions in his career, and just simply isn’t very good. Kaepernick has had his struggles, but there was at least a time when he looked like a premier NFL quarterback, and that moment wasn’t that long ago.
The biggest obstacle standing in Kaepernick’s way is his physical condition, which Kelly described as less than 100 percent after the team’s Week 3 loss to the Seahawks. But Kaepernick has been healthy enough to be the team’s No. 2 quarterback in each of the first five games, which means he’s at least fit enough to step on the field if need be. With Gabbert missing open receivers, giving the ball away, and allowing his team little chance to win, I’d say that need has presented itself.