Ever since Blaine Gabbert stunk up the joint against the Baltimore Ravens, there has been a clamor for the San Francisco 49ers to find a better backup to Colin Kaepernick. Immediately after that game, the discussion focused on Josh Johnson, who put together a solid enough day.
Since then, it has turned to considering outside options, and Jim Harbaugh shot that down on Sunday evening:
Will you go looking for another backup quarterback?
"No. We got good quarterbacks."
We can take that with a grain of salt, as I'm sure if Jim Harbaugh and/or Trent Baalke see someone of value, they would pull the trigger. Nick Bradley brought up Christian Ponder earlier this week, and some folks on Twitter were discussing him Sunday afternoon. Additionally, word got out that the Philadelphia Eagles might be interested in dealing Mark Sanchez. I jokingly said it would be entertaining, and some people quickly latched on to the idea. And of course, I got a tweet or two about Tim Tebow.
However, I continue to think the 49ers will stick with Gabbert. The $2.1 million in 2014 guaranteed money is a big reason. However, I also think Coach Harbaugh views Gabbert as a guy who could potentially at some point be turned into an Alex Smith type of option. By that, I mean a guy who will hand the ball off, make safe throws, and take sacks otherwise. If Colin Kaepernick went down, the 49ers do not have an equal to him. Instead, I imagine the team basically acting like a turtle and retreating into its shell. We'd basically see the 49ers try and bring back a poor man's version of the 2011 season.
And I wonder if Coach Harbaugh potentially tipped his hand on this one:
QB Blaine Gabbert doesn't seem to be making a lot of completions. What's going on?
"Well, I think right now, in terms of a backup quarterback, it'll be as simple as whoever doesn't turn the ball over. They're turning the ball over. All of them have. There's nobody to elevate. Whoever doesn't turn the ball over will be the backup quarterback."
I don't think the 49ers will unload Gabbert at this point and just eat his $2.1 million. However, if Gabbert struggles the rest of the way, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson or Josh Johnson is strong the next two games, maybe one of them hangs around. Gabbert had some decent moments on Sunday, but they were "outshined", if you will, by the crappier moments. But at this point, I just don't see him going anywhere quite yet. It's infuriating to plenty of fans, but it just seems to make some sense.