The San Francisco 49ers continue preparations for their Week 9 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, and it will not be an easy game. That is not exactly a shocking comment in light of the team's performance this season, but this game will come with its own handicaps.
Obviously Blaine Gabbert remains the big story. The 49ers have been positive about Gabbert this week, talking about his preparation, hard work, and so forth. That doesn't change the fact that he has made one regular season appearance in two seasons with the 49ers, and has not started a game since midway through the 2013 season. The Falcons defense does present a good matchup, Falcons protests to the contrary.
However, he is still Blaine Gabbert, a quarterback who has put up some of the worst numbers in NFL history. It is entirely possible he has figured out something since his days in Jacksonville. Quarterbacks do figure things out later in the careers, but those quarterbacks are more the exception. 49ers OC Geep Chryst made comparisons to Alex Smith. When I have looked at Gabbert, I've seen a quarterback whose highest possible upside is 2011 Alex Smith. I think anybody would be happy with that, but even 2011 was not peak Alex Smith. Peak Alex Smith was in the 2012 season.
The other issue is the injury report. Alex Boone was downgraded from limited on Wednesday to DNP on Thursday. My guess is he is listed as questionable on the final injury report, but that is assuming Thursday's downgrade was not due to a significant issue. If he is absent, the offensive line will be in a tough way. Andrew Tiller could move in at left guard, or Brandon Thomas could finally see some playing time.
Kyle McLorg ruthlessly ruffles Falcons’ feathers, Jim Tomsula denies calling Atlanta’s defense "weak" (BASG)
Video: Five things to watch when the Falcons visit the 49ers (Barrows)
Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons (Inman)
What to Watch for: San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons (49ers.com)
What the Atlanta Falcons are Saying about the 49ers Quarterback Change (49ers.com)
49ers on Alert against Julio Jones, Matt Ryan and Davonta Freeman (49ers.com)
Injury report: 49ers' Boone sits out practice with knee (Maiocco)
Four 49ers didn't practice: Acker, Boone, Boldin, Hyde (Inman)
Anquan Boldin, Carlos Hyde remained sidelined for 49ers practice (Gutierrez)
In Blaine Gabbert, team saw plenty of Alex Smith (Barrows)
Analyzing Blaine Gabbert's rise to 49ers starting gig (Inman)
San Francisco 49ers' Geep Chryst sees Alex Smith in Blaine Gabbert (Gutierrez)
Geep Chryst echoes others: 49ers were dealt a bad hand (Branch)
49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst outlined the downfall of the 49ers' offense since the start of Kaepernick's career (Biderman)
49ers Kaepernick's woes stem from team's overhaul (Inman)
49ers OC Chryst dissects what's gone wrong for Kaepernick (Maiocco)
49ers’ offensive coordinator Geep Chryst defends Colin Kaepernick (Barrows)
Eric Mangini Provides Defensive Update in Week 9
Geep Chryst: 'We Have to Find a Formula'
Keith Reaser Talks about Lining up vs. Julio Jones
RB Shaun Draughn Ready for First Game with 49ers
Coming Soon: 49ers vs. Falcons
1-on-1: 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt
Mic'd Up: Eric Reid vs. St. Louis Rams
49ers: No payments for on-field patriotic activity (Maiocco)
49ers' salvage plan probably far too late to matter (Cohn)