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John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports


Blaine Gabbert talks about being the 49ers’ starting quarterback

Sep 8, 2016 at 3:17 PM--


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How have you adapted or how have the new receivers adapted to working with you guys? How have they fit into the offense?

"Yeah, they've been doing a tremendous job and they are coming in on short notice and they are coming in and they are contributing right away. Just the extra time that we are having with them in the meeting room, getting all the reps we can get with them on the field, it's going to pay dividends in the long run. In the meantime, we're just trying to catch them up to speed as fast as possible."

Blaine Gabbert Explains Approach as Starting QB 

What has been the biggest challenge to do that?

"Well, it's just they are learning a new system. They have been here for four days now and it's kind of learning on the run. But, like I said, we are trying to get them up to speed so they can contribute as fast as possible."

You're a St. Louis guy, what did you think about the Rams moving to L.A.? Did you pay attention to that at all?

"Not really. I didn't really pay attention a whole lot. I guess it just boils down to a business decision. That's the way it goes."

What about WR Aaron Burbridge? He's the only rookie receiver to make this team and what have you seen from him throughout the preseason?

"He's a competitive guy and you saw kind of in the game there in Denver, he had a nice game. He catches the ball well in traffic and he's a big body and he does well with the yards after the catch. Him making the team is big for him. He's going to give us a great look. He gave us a great look today in practice and he's just going to continue to keep getting better throughout the season because being a rookie you do have a learning process coming into the NFL. But, he's taken that on."

You seemed to have developed a good relationship, a close friendship almost with Cincinnati Bengals QB Jeff Driskel over the offseason. What was your reaction when the Bengals picked him up?

"Yeah, it's just one of those situations where when you're claimed to an active roster that's a personal decision that you have to go. You're going to be activated and be on their 53 and that's great for him. But, the quarterbacks we have in this room are moving forward and we have a great group of guys and a lot of fun to work with."

Did you hear that head coach Chip Kelly said that your work ethic shined through from the very start when he met you? What does that mean to you?

"I just try to be the same guy every day and come and put my best foot forward, apply myself, try to learn, eager to learn, and just kind of that continued improvement from day one until now. I'm not going to change who I am throughout the year. I'm going to stick to my routine, stick to what I know and just keep trying to master this offense and win some football games."

What's the best thing about being a starting quarterback?

"You get to play in a lot of football games. That's something that we work so hard all year around and you have such a small window to play 16-20 games and you've just got to take advantage and enjoy them because these opportunities don't come very often. They are few and far between. I know that being a starter, not being a starter now being a starter again. You really just have to enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity."

Between the end of the last season until Chip officially said you were the starter, did you try to take ownership of that role anyhow?

"No question. I viewed it as I was the quarterback of this football team and that's how you always have to approach day-in and day-out walking into this building because when you view it that way you're going to put your best foot forward and you're not going to settle for anything less than that and I just took it and ran with it and here I am."

Chip Kelly is known as an innovator. Do you feel like you're playing in an innovative offense?

"Yeah, I think he's a tremendous play caller and the feel that he has for games is something that I've never been around. And all of our coaches are like that. They are very adaptive and they call what works and it's been really fun to work with them and it's only going to continue to be more fun throughout the season when we start really dialing some plays up."

Have you been in an offense in the NFL that utilized your running ability as much as this one does?

"Not really. Every system I've been in has some type of zone-read, quarterback-run dynamic to it, but this is kind of a different system from that standpoint. I like to consider myself a functional runner. When things break down I can get yards, but whenever we have numbers in the run game and you can add a quarterback dimension to that, it really puts the defense in a bind."

You said you viewed yourself as the starter going back obviously to last season, but how did you do that outside of the lines, in the locker room, things like that in terms of a leadership role?

"I'm the same guy every day. You build relationships with guys. They come to respect you. But, that doesn't come overnight. You have to earn that over a period of time. This being my third year, I have a lot of great relationships with the guys in that locker room. A lot of my best friends are in that locker room. I value those relationships and I think they do as well. It's just something that when they respect you, when they know that you have their back and they have your back, it's a fun dynamic to work with."

Is there anything personally that you want to work on more before Monday night?

"Just mastering the game plan. That's kind of why we practice throughout the week and that's why we have all these meetings, so the game plan becomes second nature and when you go into the football game you're not really reacting or thinking, it's just you're kind of in that moment in the zone and all the plays are just coming to you."

Has Chip surprised you at all as a game planner now that you guys are preparing for an actual opponent? Just how involved he is?

"We just put in the plays that work and it sounds so simple, but there's a lot of man hours and film work behind the way we game plan and the plays that we have in for this week. But, Chip has been great. The offensive staff has been great and it's up to the players to go out there and execute the calls."

What's been the difference? The last team you game planned for was the same team. With this offense and just kind of the meshing with how the Rams maybe have some tweaks and then your complete overhaul of the system, how has that been different this week as opposed to--?

"Well, the biggest thing is they are two different systems, so you're running two different style of plays. I would say that's the biggest difference, but at the same time, you attack certain defenses in a specific way. We're just going to call the plays and we've just got to go execute verses the defensive plays that are called."

Do you anticipate much change from the Rams team you faced last year?

"No, they're a great team. They are a well-coached, hardnosed, tough defense to go against, and they have some tremendous playmakers. But like I said, it's up to us to execute our plays. We've got to focus on the things that we can control and dictate the style of game it's going to be."

With OL Anthony Davis coming back and playing right guard and OL Trent Brown taking significant steps in his second season, are you feeling more comfortable running the entire offense because of an improved offensive line in front of you?

"That group of guys, they are doing a tremendous job and the depth that we have in that O-Line room is phenomenal. It's the deepest I've ever been around. Everybody in that room is a good football player and the starting five right now are doing a tremendous job. You're really starting to see how Trent and AD, [C] Daniel [Kilgore], [G] Zane [Beadles], and [T] Joe [Staley] kind of all work together, how they are kind of gelling as a group. It's been fun to watch and there's only going to be continued improvement throughout the year, especially with AD and Trent being new together on the right side. It's just going to keep getting better from here on out."



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