San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start tonight during the team's Week 3 preseason match-up against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium. Colin Kaepernick, who started throwing in practice this week and has reportedly looked good, will have to wait until Gabbert's playing time is done for the opportunity to prove himself. The team confirmed that Kaepernick will play tonight.
Kaepernick had been dealing with a muscle issue in his throwing arm and had not practiced since August 10. The team has been trying to ease him back into practices in order to prepare him to play against the Packers.
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The 49ers coaching staff has already stated that preseason will be huge for evaluating the two quarterbacks and deciding on a regular season starter. So far, Gabbert has had the spotlight to himself and started each of the team's previous two exhibition match-ups. "To make a fair evaluation, they have to both get reps with the ones," said head coach Chip Kelly earlier this month.
#49ers announce that Blaine Gabbert will start today's game at QB.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 27, 2016
Kaepernick started the 2015 season as the 49ers' starting quarterback. He 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 then-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 being placed on injured reserve.
Gabbert, who was signed by the 49ers prior to the 2014 season, went on to win three of his eight starts as the team finished with a 5-11 record. While Kaepernick recovered from offseason surgeries, Gabbert received the majority of the reps at quarterback during the 49ers' offseason program.