NFL Network had a conference call earlier this week, providing several of their analysts to the media for some discussion. Steve Mariucci was part of the group, and he got a question about the San Francisco 49ers (full transcript PDF). The one-time 49ers coach was asked what the benching of Colin Kaepernick means moving forward. The question specifically was:
Does the organization behind closed doors start to evaluate college guys already or who may be available in free agency next year? What does it feel like for an organization that suddenly isn't sure where it's going in that direction? And for Kurt and Phil Simms, if you could briefly give me whatever you think of Blaine Gabbert?
Mooch talked about the idea of Colin Kaepernick taking a step back and getting his confidence back. That's been discussed by a few folks, but Mooch seemed more focused on the idea that this team is approaching or into the re-building process. He talked about all the former No. 1 picks that have departed, without even mentioning Anthony Davis as well. The dramatic turnover does make it a little more difficult to place blame on a single person.
Here is his full answer:
Well, the Bay Area's just crazy with this conversation with Colin Kaepernick getting benched and the Niners not playing well on either side of the ball. It's just tear the team down and rebuild it from scratch time? This year alone they lost six of their first rounders, guys. Six. You're talking about they just got rid of Vernon Davis and Aldon Smith and [Michael] Crabtree and [Mike] Iupati, and Patrick Willis quit. Those are all their first rounders. They're gone. Now they're going to change the quarterback who they just signed to a mega deal a year ago. So everybody's eyebrows are up. So I don't think Blaine Gabbert's the answer. Maybe this is just like, hey, take a timeout and watch a little bit so you can get your confidence back. But we've seen him play well, but we've seen a better supporting cast around him, the offensive line, their defense is not the same as it used to be, obviously. They lost so many players and others that were not first rounders. This is an organization that's completely in transition right now, rebuilding, trying to get back to where they were just a couple years ago. It's kind of a shame, and they happen to be in a tough division. So all eyes around here are upon the 49er quarterback situation. Not so much across the bay with Derek Carr and the Raiders, but you know they're very happy with that. Right now, Kap has to get his confidence back because he's not playing very well.