Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Towards the end of the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco, a disturbing pattern emerged. Anonymous sources began conveniently popping up with increasingly creative ways to cast the former coach in a negative light on his way out the door. Those anonymous sources were never identified, yet they created so much negative publicity, and dissension within the organization, that by the time the season was over, Harbaugh's departure seemed to be a foregone conclusion.
This pattern continued during last season's quarterback transition from Colin Kaepernick to Blaine Gabbert. Mysterious anonymous sources again appeared with inside information about everything from Kaepernick's alleged standoffish attitude towards teammates, to his lackluster study habits. All of a sudden, these anonymous sources appeared from everywhere to make sure everyone knew that it was in the best interest of the team that Kaepernick was benched. Kaepernick's subpar play on the field was enough to warrant the change, but here were these sources appearing out of nowhere to drive the point home.
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Here we go again.
After the 49ers' latest debacle on Thursday night, in which Gabbert played his worse game of the season, and left little doubt that a change must come, these anonymous sources have made their triumphant return for the 2016 season. Chip Kelly, for the first time this season, was unable to stand before the press following the game and give a vote of confidence to Gabbert. He sounded very much like a man resigned to the fact that a quarterback change must be made.
Kelly has consistently reiterated that Kaepernick was in his top 2 best quarterbacks, and up until this point he has said nothing to contradict that assertion. Naturally, everyone has assumed that if Gabbert is benched, it will be Kaepernick who will replace him in the starting lineup. That is, of course, until the mysterious anonymous sources arrived today just in time to reveal that Ponder is the best choice to start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
According to a report by CSN Bay Area, a locker room source stated, "Ponder is the best option for quarterback on the roster." Hmmm, really? Who might this locker room "source" be? It doesn't claim that a player said it, it merely says, a "locker room source."
This is not an attempt to disparage Christian Ponder, or his playing ability whatsoever. It's merely an attempt to inject some common sense into the discussion. However, it is fair to point out that Ponder's career stats pale in comparison to Kaepernick's. Never mind that though, let's look at the current common sense facts.
Ponder was signed by 49ers on August 16th. In the preseason, by Kelly's admission, he was working with a very limited selection of plays. Kelly also stated on several occasions that Kaepernick's inability to practice before he was medically cleared did not hinder him at all when it came to his knowledge of the playbook. He explained that Kaepernick's mental reps allowed him to stay on pace with Gabbert regarding the offense, and that he knew the playbook just as well as Gabbert. He also stated that because Kaepernick could not practice, and was positioned behind the other quarterbacks taking mental reps during minicamp, he actually spent more time one-on-one with Kaepernick during that process, and was impressed with what he saw from him during these teaching sessions.
Once the season began, Kelly stated that first team reps were still being split between Gabbert and Kaepernick in practice, with Gabbert taking the bulk of the reps at essentially a 9 to 3 ratio. Ponder has not been taking any first-team reps at all. Ponder has been working exclusively with the scout team.
Strictly from a strategic standpoint, how can it be possible that a quarterback who never laid eyes on the offense until August 16th, and hasn't taken any reps with the first team offense in practice, can be a better option to start than a quarterback who began learning the offense on April 1st, has been in every single offensive meeting since then, and has taken a significant amount of the practice reps with the first team offense?
It can't be possible. That's ridiculous. According to these mysterious anonymous sources though, it makes perfect sense. I wouldn't be surprised to hear reports from these mysterious anonymous sources in the next couple of days letting us know that Kaepernick shouldn't start because he's been distracting the team in meetings by picking out his afro. Or, that he's been using his Ipad to go on Instagram while he should have been watching film. It wouldn't surprise me at all, because that seems to be the pattern around the 49ers organization lately.
By: York Baalke = Last NFL West
Date: October 20, 2016 at 1:37 AM
Comment: 49ers QBs and ....
Best Runner: Kap
Best Pocket Presence: Ponder
Best Scrambler: Ponder, Gab
Best Accurate Passer: Ponder
Worst Accuracy: Kap, Gab
Best at Seeing The Whole Field: Ponder
Best QB Coach Killer: Kap
Worst Owner: York, Jerry Jones
Worst GM: Trent Baalke - hands down!
Worst NFL Receivers: 49ers (no Pro Bowlers here)
Worst NFL Team QBs: 49ers
Worst Def. Cord: J. Oneal
Worst Inside LB (not counting Bowman): 49ers
Worst NFL Team: Clev. & 49ers Tie
Ponder does not have to start but when things go south with Kap, try ponder -what have you got to lose?
York should dump Baalke and pay big bucks to lure/steal the best young GM available. After that York ("win with class")should shut up and stay out of the way.
Date: October 14, 2016 at 11:27 AM
Comment: Its not so much about Ponder being so good. Its about Gabbert & Kaepernick being so. bad. All three were drafted in 2011. None of them have developed into an average NFL QB. So much so, its seems the 49ers are the only team that wants them. I wonder why. If you look at Kaepernick career he has gone backwards. Much of that is on him. He has never put the effort in to learn the QB position. After six years the 49ers would be stupid to keep him around in 2017. Gabbert & Ponder have never been very good. Gabbert has been so bad you have to question Baalke's ability to even understand the QB position. After three coaches in three years Gabbert is still there you have to question the decision makers in SF. Its not the HC making the personnel decisions. Everyone questions Chips personnel skills. Why not look at Baalke's.
Date: October 11, 2016 at 6:53 AM
Comment: Well if everyone wants Kap to play let him play with a poor supporting cast and his poor D knowledge he will suck for sure. The coaching staff know this which is why he isn't playing yet. If we play him the truth will come out and he will get cut or released by next season and then we will be forced draft a first round QB so its a good thing !!
By: robert ethan
Date: October 9, 2016 at 4:50 PM
Comment: This is one of the shit stains your boy Kaepernick inspired to action, Akbar - http://heavy.com/news/2016/10/john-felix-palm-springs-police-shooting-lesley-zerebny-jose-gilbert-vega-california-shot-killed-facebook-criminal-record-history-rap-sheet/
By: Az 49er Fan
Date: October 8, 2016 at 3:31 PM
Comment: Ponder playing ridiculous? No more ridiculous than 49er Owner, GM, and other 2 QB's on the current roster!
How could Ponder be any worse?
Date: October 8, 2016 at 9:04 AM
Comment: Good point. Please remember, Ponder working with the scout team, against the defence everyone has exposed?
" C'mon man " , Kaepernick's the best option! And it's time to let him play.
Date: October 8, 2016 at 7:47 AM
Comment: It's funny to me that if a black qb has 2 consecutive subpar years , it's he's no good a bust. No chance to redeem himself. Garnett is 1st rd pick 10th on his second d team in 5 yrs (strating) Ponder is 1st rounder who didn't have a job but the best option. Those have never showed that there are good, no playoff wins etc. Kaep has several playoff wins and I'll say two good season. I'm hearing Kaep is washed up but Ponder and Gabbert aren't?
Date: October 8, 2016 at 7:31 AM
Comment: Did Oliver Stone write this article? Sheesh, the conspiracy nuts are out for sure. Time and again, reports of practice indicate that Gabbert is better than Kaepernick. So why would you even consider putting Kaep in? If a change at QB is necessary, Ponder would be the obvious choice. Ponder is currently on the PS because they cant put Kaep there. This does not mean that Kaep is in any way better than Ponder. These conspiracy claims hold no water, just people trying to justify why they know better than the coaching staff, which they obviously dont.
Date: October 8, 2016 at 5:46 AM
Comment: To report: "Claims of Ponder Being 49ers Best Quarterback Option Ridiculous" is even more ridiculous..
Date: October 7, 2016 at 10:45 PM
Comment: If Ponder can throw the ball accurately and on time (and I think he can), then he may be the best QB option. Its obvious that the other two QB's can't throw accurately and on time. The coaches know who is the most accurate QB.
Date: October 7, 2016 at 10:02 PM
Comment: As a fan and SBL owner, its getting more and more annoying that we the fans (who pay all the bills) are continually in the dark about what is going on. I know the 49ers are a private cop and can do what they want, but its *really* hard trying to engage when reporters w stories featuring they've made up or been fold by mysterious sources... not sure how much longer I can hold out!
Date: October 7, 2016 at 8:45 PM
Comment: If this is the case, then the reporters who relay this nonsense need to be held accountable. These are grown men we are talking about and you use of the "anonymous source," is as cowardly as it gets. If there really is someone who feels this way in the locker room, I hope said player is at least man enough to voice his opinion to his teammates as well. I don't put it past some of the reporters to facilitate stories and spin the news and a favorable direction.
Date: October 7, 2016 at 7:36 PM
Comment: I thought you might actually have someone from the locker room or the team refuting the report. So, you're saying it's ridiculous because you can't bring yourself to believe that his teammates might think he's the best QB option? Investigative journalism begets your misleading title.
Date: October 7, 2016 at 7:24 PM
Comment: I don´t know Anwar, the Kelly´s system doesn´t seem hard to learn because QB´s around the nation seem to love those zone-reads. The most important thing in Kelly´s system for the QB is accuracy and we all know that Gabbert and Kaep never have been accurate QB´s. Gabbert has 56.1% of completions through his career and Kaep has 59.9% and right now a decent % of completions is 62% or 63% at least and Ponder had 64% of completions in pre-season and yes, I know that he only threw 24 passes but we don´t know if he has mantained that % of completions during these 2 months.
Date: October 7, 2016 at 6:33 PM
Comment: Kap cannot pass accurately to save his life. Just ask Crabtree and Torry Smith if Kap can hit the side of a barn with a pass. Kap is one dimensional - he can run. His passes are too high, on the ground, or behind the receiver. If he gets lucky he may complete 1 out of 10 passes of more than 20 yards. Just check out his completion ratio. No Kap is not the answer with the current offensive line. And who is to blame for this situation -well Trent Baalke got them there. Jed York, being the worst owner in the NFL, has allowed Baalke to ruin the franchise.
Date: October 7, 2016 at 1:55 PM
Comment: It could be true that 1 player prefers ponder. That's not far fetched but I understand the skepticism. I can see ponder becoming the back up. Too many people are saying that Keap is showing absolutely nothing including any interest or passion.