Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Enough Is Enough - It’s Time for the 49ers to Make a Quarterback Change

Oct 7, 2016 at 11:40 AM2


Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
"We want Kap! We want Kap!" That chant could be heard throughout Levi's Stadium as the San Francisco 49ers were well on their way to losing their fourth straight game. Head coach Chip Kelly will be under immense pressure during these ten days between games to not only bench the man who won the offseason quarterback "competition," but to start Colin Kaepernick in his place. And you know what? Those pressuring the head coach are probably right.

Of course, that's not to say that Kaepernick will be the better player under center. We do not know that for sure. That's the point. No one will know that until a good look at Kaepernick under real game situations – against starting NFL defenses – takes place. If Kaepernick stinks it up as the team's starting quarterback, you are in no worse shape than you are right now. In fact, you could argue that you are in better shape because you at least know that Kaepernick is not a viable solution going forward. You will know that the quarterback position must be addressed moving forward.

Let's face it. The 49ers' season is over. We've seen nothing from this team to hint that a comeback from this disastrous start is possible. You can throw blame anywhere within this organization. From the owner to the general manager and even the team's new head coach. After all, it is that coaching staff that has stuck with Blaine Gabbert for so long. Their reasoning was understandable. Kaepernick is not at 100-percent and a change earlier in the season would have looked bad on the coaching staff.

However, now the team is 1-4. The 49ers have lost four straight games. The last two of those four were completely winnable. Aside from a quarter of play against the Dallas Cowboys, the starting quarterback has looked anywhere from mediocre to awful.

Heading into Thursday night's game against the Arizona Cardinals, Gabbert was the 33rd ranked quarterback according to advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus. That's out of 34 graded quarterbacks. He has completed just 58-percent of his passes, which ranks 29th in the league. His passer rating is 69.6, which ranked 31st in the league. His yards per attempt are ranked 32nd in the league at 5.93.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Against the Cardinals, Gabbert had a passer rating of 56.1, which is the second time this season that it has dipped below 60. Against the blitz, his passer rating fell to a pitiful 12.0, which includes his two interceptions of the night.

"I got to play better," Gabbert said following Thursday's loss. "There's no question to that. I got to do a better job leading this football team, executing this offense, scoring points, winning games, the whole nine yards. That's just the way it goes. I got to play better."

Leading up to Thursday's game, Kelly has been committed to Gabbert, saying that there has been no discussion regarding a change at quarterback. Kelly was asked if he had considered making a change during Thursday's loss. "During the game? No," Kelly answered.


Kelly was also asked if the quarterback position would be something that the coaching staff assesses during the team's extended time between games. "I think we're going to look at everything," Kelly answered. "I mean, we're 1-4. We need to make sure we're going out there and giving us the best chance to win, so we're going to look at everything."

Meanwhile, Kaepernick appears mentally ready and waiting to step in as the 49ers' starting quarterback. "I'm always ready to step on that field and looking forward to that opportunity," Kaepernick said following the 49ers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks last month.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Of course, starting Kaepernick would mean allowing the spotlight already on him to get even brighter. Kaepernick has been under the media spotlight for the entire season thanks to his protest of the national anthem. However, backup quarterbacks don't get press conferences. If they get any attention at all, it's usually via interviews by their locker following games. Kaepernick's locker space has been overflowing with media this season because of his stance and actions. If he were to become the starting quarterback for the 49ers, questions about that stance, and not football, might dominate the press conferences.

While Kaepernick's cause may be a just one, it may also create an even bigger distraction for an already struggling 49ers team. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that one player has questioned Kaepernick's commitment, pointing out the quarterback's failure to regain weight since the conclusion of the 49ers' offseason program. Kaepernick has appeared much thinner following his rehab from offseason surgeries. That thinner frame makes many question his in-game durability. Should Kaepernick get injured, the team might be on the hook to pay his entire 2017 salary.

What's the alternative? Apparently, third-string quarterback Christian Ponder has some support within the 49ers locker room. "Ponder is the best option for quarterback on the roster," a locker room source told CSN Bay Area. Ponder has been inactive during the entire season and has worked primarily with the scout team in practices. A source told CSN Bay Area that Ponder, like Gabbert, has been more consistent than Kaepernick in practices. What does that say about Kaepernick? If Ponder gets the call ahead of Kaepernick, you have to wonder if the latter has any future with the 49ers.

Chip Kelly will make the call on who starts at quarterback when the 49ers face the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York on October 16. Will it be the correct decision? Perhaps. Will it help right the wrongs with the 49ers this season? Probably not. However, it may help answer some questions moving forward. After all, the NFL Draft is less than seven months away.

Poll

  • Who should be the 49ers starting quarterback against the Bills?
  • Colin Kaepernick
    64%
  • Christian Ponder
    32%
  • Blaine Gabbert
    4%
  • 301 votes
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


2 Comments

  • G Cunningham
    Why is the 49ers paying $68M to coaches who don't coach. Also are they using the unspent cap funds to offset the $68M?
    Oct 9, 2016 at 7:01 AM
    0
    Response: Kelly, nor his staff, is making $68M. Also, the salary cap and staff salaries have nothing to do with each other.
  • Jack
    It's sad, but Matt has been against kaep from the start. And he has taken a quote out of contest, " if they're not going to play Kaepernick why not give Ponder a chance ". That's the actual statement. Those wide open receivers Gabbert is continuing to miss every game, Kaepernick hits those. All day, that alone changes the game.
    Oct 8, 2016 at 8:55 AM
    1

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers seek to change narrative vs. dual-threat QBs by stopping Daniel Jones

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 19

The San Francisco 49ers have sported an excellent defense over the past few seasons, despite going from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to DeMeco Ryans and now Steve Wilks, utilizing a similar scheme and consistently developing talent on that side of the ball. However, there has been one area, regardless of coordinator and talent, that the 49ers have struggled against defensively: containing dual-threat quarterbacks. That's the challenge they face in Week 3, as the 49ers are hosting the New York Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones in the home opener. The Giants have seen a tumultuous start to the season with a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, and a thrilling comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. Can the 49ers change



John Lynch: Brandon Aiyuk's status for 49ers-Giants remains "very fluid," could be game-time decision

By David Bonilla
Sep 20

This week's focus remains on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The team has a short week to prepare for its next opponent—the New York Giants on Thursday night at Levi's Stadium. The matchup comes just four days after the Niners' 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Aiyuk suffered a shoulder injury on his first catch, a 13-yard reception during San Francisco's opening drive. He was in and out of the lineup throughout the game and was limited during the 49ers' light Tuesday practice. On Tuesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan said that the decision will come down to how Aiyuk feels and the evaluation from the training staff. It sounds like the receiver may end up being a



49ers to place cornerback Samuel Womack on injured reserve

By Kirk Larrabee
Sep 15

The San Francisco 49ers will be without back-up cornerback Samuel Womack for several weeks due to an MCL injury, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Friday. Womack sustained the injury during the final play of practice on Wednesday, Shanahan said. He is expected to go on injured reserve but does not need surgery and will likely return later this season. "I think it's like six to eight weeks, something like that," Shanahan said of Womack's timetable to return. Womack (5-10, 189) is in his second season with the 49ers after being selected in Round 5 of the 2022 NFL Draft. He had 19 tackles in 16 games as a rookie with one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Womack played nine snaps on defense and 17 snaps on



49ers vs. Rams Injury Report: Samuel Womack ruled out

By Site Staff
Sep 15

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for their Week 2 contest against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that cornerback Samuel Womack injured his MCL during Wednesday's practice and will end up on short-term injured reserve. He will not require surgery. Below are the official injury reports for the 49ers and Rams, provided by the 49ers Communications staff. Also included are Friday's practice participation reports. San Francisco 49ers Out CB Samuel Womack (knee) Los Angeles Rams Questionable LB Ernest


Featured

More by David Bonilla

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone