The San Francisco 49ers made a change at the quarterback position in Week 15, electing to activate Christian Ponder as the backup, deactivating Blaine Gabbert. Ponder was seen taking offensive practice reps earlier this week for the first time (instead of just scout team reps), so it was not entirely surprising he was activated.
After the game, head coach Chip Kelly was asked why the team moved Ponder up the depth chart. Kelly had this to say:
Because we’ve seen him in practice do some really good things and earn a spot. It’s got nothing to do with Kap, I thought Kap played well today it’s just that he earned the spot as the number two. I think he and Blaine are battling. Blaine’s been great and I think both of those guys can play, but you can only dress two right now. We may dress three next week because we won’t have enough to dress.
The 49ers dealt with numerous injuries during the game, so they could be entirely short-handed this week. My guess is they move a player or two to injured reserve since there are only two games left in the season.
Someone asked Kelly if the move was because he wanted to see Ponder get a look for next season. Kelly shot that down, saying, “No, we are trying to win football games. This isn’t open tryouts right now.”
At one point it seemed like we might see Ponder in the second half. The 49ers were trailing 21-0 and 28-7 at two different points. They responded each time with a touchdown following a solid drive, and that likely kept Colin Kaepernick in the game. Now the team heads to Los Angeles to face an awful Rams team, so again, I would be surprised if we saw anything from Ponder in Week 16.