Blaine Gabbert has been taking the starting reps during offseason practices for the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the 2015 season as the 49ers' starting quarterback. Many within the media feel that he fits Chip Kelly's offense better than the man he took over for last season, Colin Kaepernick. However, at least one person within the media believes that Gabbert may not necessarily have the lead in the quarterback race in Santa Clara.
Benjamin Allbright of CBS Sports stated that early word has Kaepernick, not Gabbert, as Kelly's preferred quarterback despite the fact that Kaepernick's time within practices has been extremely limited. He has not even been medically cleared to practice with his teammates. However, he has been seen out there mimicking motions and attempting to get mentally ready.
Once Kaepernick is cleared for practice, the 49ers' quarterback competition will be the biggest story of the offseason – if you don't call it that already. Last week, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that Kaepernick should be cleared to practice in the next few weeks.
"He's not yet throwing full-tilt and hasn't been cleared for practice. The question is whether that will occur before the team's most meaningful offseason session, the mandatory minicamp on June 7-9. He is expected to be fully cleared for training camp for sure," Barrows wrote.
On May 17, Kelly stated that Kaepernick has not fallen behind in the quarterback competition. After all, at the time, the team had just started their organized team activities. Most of the reps in practice have gone to Gabbert, Thad Lewis, and Jeff Driskel while Kaepernick's throwing has been limited to the side of the practice field with trainers.
"Don't go to sleep on Gabbert. He's done everything right since arriving with the 49ers and his skill set is perhaps even better suited to Kelly's scheme than Kaepernick's," Barrows wrote during a chat with fans.
Kaepernick tore a ligament in his throwing hand's thumb during an October 22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. During his next game, a November 1 matchup against the St. Louis Rams, Kaepernick said that he suffered a bone bruise and cracked cartilage. That game would be his last of the season before being benched in favor of Gabbert and eventually placed on injured reserve.
While none of his injuries are expected to cause long-term issues, he has had surgeries on his left shoulder, thumb, and knee since being placed on injured reserve.