No. 1: Quarterback
Likely Candidates for the Position: Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick
Alright, the most intriguing training camp position battle the 49ers face this season — quarterback.
We could rehash everything about Blaine Gabbert versus Colin Kaepernick over and over again. From Kap’s fall from grace last season and how it paralleled Gabbert’s ascendance, to the offseason trade speculation, surgeries, film study, locker-room presence and whatever else, this camp competition has about everything fans would want.
Except a surefire winner.
Both QBs have had up-and-down moments in training camp so far. Just look at the following media assessments:
And yet Gabbert probably has the edge still, even if head coach Chip Kelly hasn’t revealed his hand just yet.
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Why? Well, as KNBR 680’s John Lund pointed out earlier this week, Kaepernick simply “looked behind” in the competition. It might not be Kap’s fault, as he wasn’t able to fully participate in Kelly’s scheme during OTAs and the majority of minicamp. Offseason surgeries do take their toll.
Even if Gabbert wins out — which we’ll see plenty of competition during the preseason — can he retain the starting job over Kaepernick during the regular season, or will Kap turn the table like Gabbert did midway through 2015?
While this camp battle is the most intriguing, it’s one which likely won’t end with Week 1 either.
Predicted Winner: Blaine Gabbert