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Jim Harbaugh says there's competition for Blaine Gabbert's backup QB spot

Blaine Gabbert, as it turns out, is not overburdened with job security.

Rob Carr

This isn't hot off the presses or anything, but just in case you missed it: San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said that the backup quarterback job is up for grabs, in so many words. That was following the brutal 23-3 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, in which Blaine Gabbert stunk the place up something fierce.

I was very surprised during Thursday's game ... not that Gabbert did bad, but that so many people were expecting better from him. I'll admit that I thought maybe Harbaugh could do something with him, and coax more scoring potential out of him than Colt McCoy, but deep down I always knew that Gabbert has been consistently awful and has given us no reason to suspect that's changed.

Our hopes and perceptions regarding his potential came solely from the fact that Harbaugh and Roman know a thing or two about quarterbacks.

It is entirely worth noting that this was the first preseason game. We can note that Chris Borland and Jimmie Ward struggled at times, and write it off as being an inconsequential exhibition match, the second-least important one of the four. But that has to cut in Gabbert's favor as well. He's not a rookie or anything, but this is his first year with the 49ers and he probably doesn't deserve all the folks harping on him.

But back to what Harbaugh said. He said that there are "spots up for grabs in the depth area," and that "whoever comes along the fastest will win those jobs." McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Josh Johnson would be Gabbert's biggest competition at this point. I'm personally a big fan of Johnson and think he can win this battle if in fact the spot actually is up for grabs (and why should we assume otherwise?)

At the end of the day, it's incredibly easy to make jokes about Gabbert and his struggles. He's been bad in the past and he'll probably be bad in the future. But he's going to get a fair chance to turn things around and fight off these other guys. Should be interesting. Who do you want to win the battle?