Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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.