Round Table: Who starts at quarterback for the 49ers during week 1?

Aug 3, 2016 at 4:00 PM7


In our latest Round Table, our team of writers was asked who they thought would start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers during Week 1 at home against the Los Angeles Rams.

Alex Pedregon


Week 1 starter: Blaine Gabbert

This is a tough call since Kap and Gabbert seemed fairly evenly matched heading into camp, having very similar strengths and weaknesses as it relates to Kelly's offensive scheme. IMO, it's going to come down to who has a stronger grasp of the playbook and of course who the team responds to better in practices/preseason games. I believe Gabbert will show a better command of the offense, get people in the right places more quickly and effectively than Kap and eventually be named the opening game starter.

Brandon Graham


Week 1 starter: Colin Kaepernick

Chip Kelly recently discussed how similar Kaepernick and Gabbert's skill-sets are, and I believe that he genuinely see's potential in both. Gabbert would assuredly be the pick if it were up to the front-office, but if Kelly has full autonomy of the position (as we're led to believe) than I still envision a healthy Kaepernick getting the call.

It's been reported that Chip Kelly previously looked into acquiring Kap when he was in Philadelphia prior to the 2015 season. I think he see's a lot of the same traits in Kaepernick that Marcus Mariota had while he coached the him at Oregon. Gabbert is of course no slouch athletically, but ultimately it will be Kap who proves most capable this preseason and wins the job.

Zain Naqvi


Week 1 starter: Colin Kaepernick

It depends on how Head Coach Chip Kelly views them. If he feels like they're very comparable in skillset, then Gabbert might have the edge. However, I think that raw talent and having had success in this league means that Colin Kaepernick wins the job. Last year, it was a down year for the entire team. Everyone's play suffered as a result of a bad coaching staff, injuries and general ineffectiveness. The offensive line was awful last year, but it's worth noting that two of the worst offensive linemen in the league (according to PFF), were Jordan Devey and Erik Pears. They were both benched after Gabbert got the starting job. I don't think it's a coincidence that the offensive line's improved play helped improve the play from the quarterback position. It's also worth noting that Kaepernick played the tougher part of the the schedule, playing 5 playoff teams while Gabbert played 3 playoff teams.

Kaepernick had his worst year as a pro, but is now back and learning under an offensive minded head coach in Chip Kelly. Yes, Blaine Gabbert outplayed Kaepernick last year, but I feel like that's pretty much what we'll see out of Gabbert - decent play, but nothing spectacular (kind of like Alex Smith). We've seen Kaepernick play better than he did last year, but the same can't be said about Gabbert because 2015 was the best that he's played in his career thus far. Interesting point, though. When the 49ers had Alex Smith, there was a contingent that strongly disliked him. The Niners pretty much have the same guy all over again (post 2010) in Gabbert and there's a lot of the same people that strongly like him. Go figure.

I will say that Gabbert is a talented, intelligent, hard working, well spoken man and I'm happy that he's on the team. He just doesn't have the track record that Kaepernick does when it comes to winning. Experience absolutely counts in this league - especially if a guy has been able to be successful. A big part of that was the team surrounding Kaepernick, but that's a topic for another day. Gabbert will put up a good fight and he'll show that he's improved, but for at least the first few weeks of 2016, Colin Kaepernick will be the 49ers starter.

Jesse R. Dumas


Week 1 starter: Blaine Gabbert

My gut feeling is that Gabbert starts Week 1. He's had more time actually running the playbook that Chip Kelly brings to the table and his skill set is not at all out of line with what Kelly is looking for. Furthermore, Kelly has had more time to think and design around what he's seen in front of him out of Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick has had mental reps and good rehab from what I've heard, but this competition isn't as even-handed as Kelly would want us to think it is. The guy who gets more time has a distinct advantage. Couple that with the trade demand that never materialized and there's nothing that makes me think that Kelly has any reason at all to handicap this race in Kap's favor.

I expect beyond Week 1 however, that Gabbert will be on a pretty short leash if Kelly thinks he can get any more big play potential out of his reserve. Kaepernick still represents the threat for big plays, even if they come erratically. That is the one thing that for all the nice stories we read about Gabbert's maturity and his undervalued athletic ability that he truly cannot overcome.

Stewart M. Cockrell


Week 1 starter: Blaine Gabbert

As much as I think Kapernick can be exciting in this offense, I just worry he won't be able to master the accuracy that the offense requires. Coupled with no reps in OTA's, it is really Gabbert's job to lose. Gabbert makes the most sense from a continuity perspective as well. Given that the team has basically rebuilt the offensive line this year and assuming that Hyde can stay healthy, I think that Gabbert gives us the best chance to win games short term. He has proven to be mobile enough to keep teams more honest in Kelly's offense than a player like Sam Bradford or Nick Foles.

That all being said, I'm not sure Gabbert finishes the season as starter. Be it injury or poor play, I think Kaepernick will start a handful of games for this team this year. In all likelihood this team is going to struggle this season and that means there tends to be a opening for the backup to play.

David Bonilla


Week 1 starter: Blaine Gabbert

Don't get me wrong. I would love to see Colin Kaepernick prove himself to Chip Kelly, the new coaching staff, and the fans and return as the starter. I simply believe that Kelly already secretly has a starter in mind. That guy is Blaine Gabbert and it is up to Kaepernick to do enough in preseason to prove him wrong. I think that if this competition ends up even remotely close, which it sounds like it has been so far, that Gabbert starts Week 1.

Now, will he remain the starter for the entire season? That is a different question altogether and I am not convinced that he does. I think there are a lot of aspects about Kaepernick that intrigue Kelly. I fully believe that he was legitimately intrigued by Kaepernick while in Philadelphia and may have inquired about him. If true, that says a lot.

I'm not rooting for or against either quarterback as i believe they each bring something unique to Kelly's offense. I want whoever gives the team the best chance to win, but right now, I think it is Gabbert's job to lose and that Kaepernick has an uphill battle ahead of him to change that. Can he? Absolutely.

John Croston


Week 1 starter: Blaine Gabbert

My gut feeling is that Gabbert will be the Week 1 starter, however, I believe he will be on a very short leash. The competition will be close, and I think the head start that Gabbert had this off season will give him the very slightest of edges. The determining factor will be in the pre-season games, during which I have the feeling that Gabbert will show a little more mastery of the offense, as well as better short to medium range repetitive accuracy, something that Coach Kelly covets in his offense. Gabbert also has deceptive athleticism, which will help to give the offense a good counter balance.

If the team starts off poorly however, I don't expect it will be long before Kaepernick gets the call. This might be best for him in the long run, even if it isn't great for the team. It would give Kaepernick more time to master the offense, while taking the pressure off of him to be the number one guy. There is so much uncertainty surrounding the position, that the only thing I would firmly believe is that the player who starts in Week 1, will not be the starter come the end of the season.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


7 Comments

  • arturo bradley
    Few of the writers here mention repetitive accuracy and how this will go into Gabbert's favor. If you took away his checkdowns, he is probably less accurate than Kap. In fact through 4 days of training camp, Gabbert has been less accurate than Kap in11v11 drills. For a guy who had the team to himself while kissing a&# of his teammates as well as having all the reps in OTA and Minicamp, Gabbert hasnt seperated himself at all. In fact he may even be behind Kap in the competition.
    Aug 5, 2016 at 12:57 AM
    1
  • OldCoach
    Kap is already looking very good and Gabbert stiil is Alex Smith part 2, getting passes batted down and getting frustrated. It won't even be close. Kap is back.
    Aug 3, 2016 at 8:51 PM
    1
  • Ladale
    Wow, did someone just explain away why a guy struggled with another NFL and at the same time down a guy drafted by the 9ers who's actually won games. It has to be more about something else rather football because Gabbert has shown nothing on the field to trump Kaepernick. With either team...
    Aug 3, 2016 at 8:17 PM
    1
  • robert ethan
    The "Blame" Gabbert nonsense came from ONE guy on the Jags, a former coach who was fired. He wouldn't even put his name to it. Anon. Mike Silver who wrote the article back in 2013 said recently in an interview he thought Gabbert would be the starter in S.F. because he was so well liked by his teammates and commanded their respect unlike that petulant infantile Squidward Flatbrim.
    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:11 PM
    0
  • robert ethan
    Gabbert was with the Jags 3 years. Hurt after 10 games of second season, couldn't throw until following Aug. Then broke thumb, but named starter anyway while on inj list. Started 3 games his 3rd season and was knocked out of each with inj. Shut down til mid season, then Jags decided to tank for Bortles and let Henne start rest of the way. That's how it happened. Gabbert was youngest QB to start more than 10 games as a rook in league history. Lost the job because of injury and new coach/G.M. deciding to draft their own guy.
    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:05 PM
    1
  • Terrance
    I couldn't have said it better Ladalel! These people must be putting something in their coffee.
    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:29 PM
    0
  • Ladale
    So Blaine or Blame Gabbert as he was described with the Jaguars, a guy who spent like 4 seasons as an off&on starter with the Jags and managed only 4 wins before being replaced by Chad Henne comes to town and starts over your teams QB only a few seasons removed from a Super Bowl. Kaepernick has won over 30 games against some elite teams and now that he has an offense suitable to his skill set, one similar to the one he ran in college you chose Blaine Gabbert?? Wow..
    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:00 PM
    5

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