There was a lot of speculation in the offseason about how new San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly would address the looming Colin Kaepernick problem -- the former “franchise” QB had been benched by Jim Tomsula last season but is being paid almost $16 million this year — whether it be through trade, release, or naming him the starter and trying to revitalize his career as he had once done for Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Instead it appears the answer has so far been: None of those things.
Kelly said on Sunday that Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert would be getting equal reps with the first team for now, meaning it’s neck-and-neck for the starting QB job as the 49ers prepare for their Week 1 matchup against the LA Rams on Monday, September 12.
Kaepernick started eight games last season, throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions with a passer rating of 78.5. He had 6.6 yards per attempt. Since his debut as a starter late in 2012, when he helped lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl with a rating of 98.3, 8.3 Y/A, and 6.6 yards per carry, Kaepernick has a rating of 86.6 over 40 starts, with 46 TDs, 23 INTs, 7.2 Y/A, and 5.9 yards per carry. He rushed for five touchdowns in seven starts in 2012, but just six touchdowns in the three years since.
In Gabbert’s eight starts last season, he had 10 touchdowns, seven interceptions, a rating of 86.2, and 7.2 Y/A. The last time he entered the year as a starter was in 2013 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Gabbert was benched after an 0-3 start in which he had one touchdown and seven interceptions.
I wouldn’t put it past Kelly to get more out of either of these QBs than Tomsula ever could, but let’s not forget how bad Foles, Sam Bradford, and Mark Sanchez played for the Eagles over the last two years. There’s only so much you can do with QBs like these ones.