Blaine Gabbert started the game against the Texans, but he had a very up-and-down game. He missed some easy throws to begin with, and ended up only completing 40 percent of his passes (four-of-10 for 63 yards and a touchdown).
Fellow QB Colin Kaepernick did not suit up due to a sore shoulder, and yesterday in the first day of the joint practice with the Broncos he was reduced to just side throwing with no live action.
And today it was announced he will not play in Saturday’s game, per the 49ers official twitter account:
This is not good news for Kaepernick, as he will miss important game action for the second week in a row. It also placed more onus on Gabbert to have a better showing on Saturday. Completing just 40 percent of your passes is not good enough. If he wants a better test, he will get it in this game.
Gabbert needs to show better control of his throws early on and find his targets accurately. He is being given a unique opportunity to claim the starting job for Week 1 with his primary competition not being able to compete.
The loss of third-string QB Thad Lewis to a season-ending ACL injury was an unfortunate blow, leading to the signing of free agent QB Christian Ponder. The signing of Ponder doesn’t affect who will start for San Francisco.
Gabbert will likely play around the first quarter and a half with his backup being Jeff Driskel and Ponder being the third-stringer.
In yesterday’s practice, none of them distinguished themselves, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area:
"Blaine Gabbert, who continues to get all of the first-team practice snaps with Kaepernick unavailable, completed four of seven pass attempts with one interception and three sacks during team drills. Rookie Jeff Driskel took the second-team reps, while newly signed Christian Ponder handled the third-team snaps. During the final seven snaps of team drills, the 49ers did not complete a pass and Gabbert, Driskel and Ponder each threw interceptions."
However, today’s practice was a marked improvement for Gabbert, who threw three red-zone touchdowns, per Maiocco:
"Blaine Gabbert took all of the first-team reps and completed eight of 13 pass attempts, including three touchdown passes in a red-zone drill. Gabbert threw two scoring passes to tight end Garrett Celek and another to wide receiver Quinton Patton."
Gabbert was happy with the offense today.
“We were clicking,” Gabbert said via Maiocco. “I think we missed maybe one throw, but for the most part guys were running hard, the offensive line did a tremendous job blocking up front. Just delivered the ball on time, and guys were making plays.”
Let’s hope in Saturday’s game we continue to see this improvement!
Next: Will Arik Armstead play?