The San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, and the Denver Broncos remain as the only three teams that have not yet named their starting quarterback for their first exhibition game. The 49ers and Houston Texans will be the last teams to play during the NFL's opening week of preseason. The pair face off at Levi's Stadium on Sunday, August 14 at 4 PM.
On Tuesday, prior to the team's eighth practice of training camp, 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins was asked when a decision on a starter for Sunday would be made. "I'm not sure yet," answered Modkins. "We've got, what, five days before we play? So, we haven't got that far yet, but towards the end of it I'm sure we'll figure out how we're going to do that."
Preseason will be big for the starting positions currently up in the air. Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick are the two involved in the battle for the starting quarterback job in San Francisco.
"Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick improved their practice-field accuracy Tuesday, albeit with mostly short throws to receivers running mostly horizontal routes," said Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group. According to his unofficial statistics, Gabbert was 10 of 12 passing during 11-on-11 drills while Kaepernick was 8 of 11.
#49ers QB Watch, adjusted 11v11 stats*— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 9, 2016
*short, horizontal passing emphasis
PS: Kap did well in red zone
"I'll tell you what, both guys are doing a good job," Modkins said on Tuesday. "They are both competing their tails off. In the classroom, on the field, they are both doing a good job. I wouldn't say any one is ahead of the other right now. I think as we get into the preseason and we get to playing live games, those things will start happening, but right now I wouldn't say anyone is ahead of anybody. I just think they are both progressing like we want them to and both have been really good."
While the entire coaching staff will share their input, if one quarterback does not separate himself from the other during preseason, the decision on who will start Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams will fall solely on head coach Chip Kelly. "I think Chip allows everybody to have some input and he'll make the ultimate call on who that is, but Chip's always had all of us involved in it," said Modkins.
Not only has the team not decided on a starter for Sunday, but it hasn't decided how preseason reps would be divvied up. Would one quarterback start Week 1 and then the other start Week 2? Will the coaching staff try to give each about the same number of snaps?
"We haven't really talked about it yet," said Modkins. "We haven't decided yet on how we're going to do it. We'll figure that out as we get closer to the first game. Right now, we're in training camp mode. We're in instillation mode. We're in teaching the offense mode. We'll kind of figure out the game plan as far as reps and all that in a few days."
How much preparation is the 49ers coaching staff doing for this weekend's game? "Not a lot," said Modkins. "We just kind of do what we do and go from there."
"We're not looking to out-scheme Houston by any means," continued Modkins. "We're looking to see who can block and who can be in the right places and who steps the right way, whose fundamentals are the right way and whose pad levels are down, can we throw and catch simple routes. There's not any game planning going on for the first game."
Sunday's exhibition game against the Texans remains the team's most affordable home game of the season. Tickets are currently selling on the aftermarket for as little as $8 each. The team's most expensive home game is a Week 4 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys with those tickets starting at $210.