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NFL Network's Mike Silver has been very vocal in his belief that San Francisco 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert is the favorite over Colin Kaepernick for the starting job. So why is he so adamant in that belief? He was asked that very question on Inside Minicamp on Thursday.
Silver stated that there were four reasons why he continues to believe that Gabbert is the favorite in San Francisco.
The first reason was that Silver believes that Gabbert played better than Kaepernick in 2015. It is important to note that while possibly true, neither quarterback excelled statistically and Kaepernick was playing with an existing injury.
Kaepernick touched on that Thursday while speaking to the media for the first time since the end of the 2015 season. "To be perfectly blunt with you, I didn't play my best football last year. Injury, no injury, I wasn't playing my best football and that's something that I'm excited about for this season is being able to redeem myself, go out there, and play well and prove to everybody what I'm capable of," said Kaepernick.
Regarding his injury and playing through it last season, Kaepernick said, "At the time I didn't realize how bad things were until I went and got a second opinion and really saw what had happened, but at this point, I'm close to being 100 percent healthy."
Silver's second reason was that Gabbert is "extremely well liked" in the 49ers' building, including by general manager Trent Baalke who hired head coach Chip Kelly. "These conversations obviously took place during the interview process and if Blaine Gabbert was not someone Chip Kelly felt he could work with, I don't believe he would have been hired by Trent Baalke and Jed York," said Silver.
What of his relationship with his 49ers teammates? Kaepernick touched on that as well on Thursday. "From my standpoint, I have a great relationship with my teammates. I really can't answer that for them, how they view me. That's a better question suited for them," Kaepernick said. Although, Silver's point seemed to be that Gabbert is more liked among the coaching staff and management.
The third reason that Silver pointed out was related to trust. "It's tough to trust Colin Kaepernick when his agents demanded a trade – later deciding he didn't want a trade that badly. That he would take millions of dollars than less money, which I understand," said Silver. He went on to say that Gabbert is, and has been, "all in" with the 49ers.
The fourth reason was that Gabbert is still considered a good fit for Kelly's offense. "Though on paper, Colin Kaepernick is a great fit for this offense, you would think, with the athleticism and the things he showed earlier under Jim Harbaugh, Blaine Gabbert is a better fit for Chip Kelly's system than is commonly perceived. He's actually a much better athlete than most people give him credit for," said Silver. Gabbert admitted to Silver, after apparently being pressed for the answer, that he considers himself one of the better athletes at the quarterback position.
You can watch the entire segment below.
Why is Blaine Gabbert the favorite for starting QB?
Regardless of what Silver and others within the media believe, Kaepernick stated Thursday that he is excited to work with Kelly and his staff and is looking forward to proving himself in this quarterback competition. "I wasn't playing my best football and that's something that I'm excited about for this season is being able to redeem myself, go out there, and play well and prove to everybody what I'm capable of," said Kaepernick.