The San Francisco 49ers appear set to make a significant change of the potentially franchise-altering kind. Bay Area Sports Guy writer Kyle McLorg is reporting the team is benching Colin Kaepernick this week, and replacing him in the starting lineup with Blaine Gabbert. I've heard some rumblings this was going to happen, with buzz picking up intensity this evening, but I did not have nearly enough to go on.
Jim Tomsula spoke to the media on Monday, and avoided giving Kaepernick a vote of confidence. He said every position was being evaluated including the starting quarterback, which marked the first time he has not emphatically said Kaepernick was the starter. It was a strong hint that change was afoot.
Tomsula does not have another press conference until Wednesday, but I believe he has his weekly KNBR segment Tuesday morning. If that is the case, I imagine he gets a question or two about Kaepernick's status. I do not expect an answer from him on Tuesday, but we'll see what comes up in that interview.
There is so much to unpack from this decision, and the repercussions are only just beginning if this plays out as Kyle is reporting. Gabbert has never shown himself to be a particularly good NFL quarterback. However, Kaepernick has not exactly impressed this season for more than short spurts.
It remains to be seen if this is a short-term thing, or the official transition that signifies the start to the end of his time with the 49ers. I don't see Gabbert as a long-term option, but I did like the reference Tim Kawakami made to Gabbert being the placebo test. His play could be what the front office and coaching staff use to get more of a handle on Kaepernick. The team has to make a decision about his future given the big number in 2016 and beyond. Or, it is possible the 49ers have already made that decision, and this is just the first step toward formalizing it. If Kap is finished with the 49ers, the team will want to avoid him suffering a significant injury and guaranteeing that 2016 salary.
The roller coaster continues on!