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Blaine Gabbert talked QB competition, offensive tempo, Chip Kelly, and more

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The San Francisco 49ers quarterback discussed the QB competition, his wide receivers, and learning Chip Kelly's offense. We've got a full transcript, and you can watch video here.

On how it's been going thus far:

It's been going good. Just the learning process has been really smooth. First day of OTAs went well, but there's always room for improvement. So, we're gonna watch the film, see what things we can get better at, diagnose them, and get better at them tomorrow.

On what strikes him about what he is asked to do this season with new offense:

It's quarterback friendly. The balls in our hand, they ask us to distribute it, make the reads. That's all you can ask playing quarterback. You wanna have the ball in your hands and be responsible for it. And that's what Coach Kelly entrusts in us, and we have to go out and perform.

On balance of new receivers and learning system:

It makes it fun. This is, I think my sixth system in six years, so kinda starting from scratch, starting from the lowest building block and working up with these guys. You're all learning at the same pace, so there's going to be gradual improvement throughout the summer. I think that's kinda what makes it so special. I think you can see these guys improve really on a day-to-day basis.

On QB room, practice and any potential awkwardness with Colin Kaepernick:

It has been normal. His focus right now is rehab, and my focus right now is learning offense, being in the weight room, being with the guys on the football field. But no, it's been great. We're in the meetings together, we're in the locker rooms together, and we're out there working to get better together.

On if not being able to throw in practice will hinder Kap:

It's funny, because I was in his shoes, I think my second year coming back from a shoulder surgery, and you just have to make the most of the mental reps. Physical reps are the best reps you can get, but at the same when you're standing behind, you've got to watch the guys get the reps in front of you and then watch the film in the meeting room.

On using this time to take charge of the starting role:

Uh, just kind of take it and run with it. I'm having fun. Just trying to build on the last eight weeks of last year. Building confidence in guys. Getting the guys trust in me and the offense, and just going out there and having fun. I think that's the biggest thing right now. You've got to enjoy this summer process because it's like recess on grass. So we just go out there and have a ball. We've got the music rolling. It has been a good time so far.

On if music helps with silent counts and play-calling:

Yea, especially when it gets loud with the signals, and them being in my head-set. You gotta focus. We're going at a fast tempo, so we just kinda gotta lock in.

On tempo this year compared to last year:

Well, I think tempo can go both ways. You can be fast, but at the same time you gotta know where you're going, how to line up, know what the play is, know the protection, know the route concepts. So, you can only go as fast as your brain is going to process that information. That's why the time in the meeting room and off the field is so important, because you gotta know what you're doing.

On having three QBs (Gabbert, Kap, Driskel) being about same size/speed and benefit of having similar skillsets:

I don't know. I just catch the ball, throw the ball, and run with it if I have to. But, yeah. Jeff's a good athlete, Colin's a good athlete, Thad's a good athlete, and I think I'm a pretty decent athlete. So I guess it's a good thing.

On if his athleticism is underrated:

Yeah, everybody is going to have their opinion. But I can run with them pretty good.

On if he needs to tread lightly in asserting leadership amidst QB competition:

Nah, I don't think I have to tread lightly at all. For me, being a quarterback, you have to be the leader. You gotta be the vocal guy on the football team, directing this offense, directing really offense, defense, and special teams on game day. And that's the thing that I enjoy. I like being the guy that guys look to, whether to get them lined up, if they're looking for advice, just providing the offense with a little juice on the field.

On offseason chatter and his chance to prove skeptics wrong as a long-term answer:

To be honest, I really didn't listen at all. But no, the opportunity is front of me and this football team to go out there and have a great season, start off on the right foot. And I look at that challenge as one that I'm willing to accept. Nothing is ever going to be given to you, especially in the National Football League. You're not going to be given a job, you gotta go out there and take it. And that's my mindset. I'm never going to shy away from competition. You're always competing whether it's against somebody or against yourself, and I welcome that.

On if late QB pick was vote of confidence in Gabbert:

Teams are going to draft quarterbacks just to get numbers. Usually teams carry four or five quarterbacks, I'm not really sure. I'm going to go out there and do my job, and compete with the guys in the room and the best guy is going to play. Plain and simple. And that's kind of the way you've gotta approach it.

On what self-analysis he did, and what he's working on:

Yea, we watched, shoot, I watched those games on the iPad quite a bit. Just to kind of diagnose what happened, go back to the Atlanta game, just work through the pass plays. They had a great breakdown, our video guys did a great job, just all the passes, all the runs. Just seeing different things. And really those are hard to work on. Those are game situations so it's hard to emulate in a gym or on the practice field. Now's the time when we start the OTAs, had a minicamp, have a minicamp coming up in June. That's when you really apply those things, and just little fundamental things. Knowing your reads, knowing your progressions, blitz pick up. But it's so game, week-to-week specific in the season, it's tough to emulate against your own defense.

On how he felt about the eight games he played:

Some good and some bad. Had some chances at the end of games to pull ‘em out. That Cincy game was close, just a couple mistakes here and there. Really going back to that Arizona game. I think we were 4th and 20, and we got 19 1/2. It was tough breaks, I took a sack there on third down to put us in that position. And just little things like that. Knowing down and distance, knowing the pressure areas on the field, especially in that Arizona game. We knew that were gonna get cover 0, kinda in that fringe spot. And just little stuff like that. Probably doesn't mean a lot to you guys, probably didn't get what I said, but for a quarterback, being in those situations, those are game-changers.

On if offense similar to what he ran at Missouri:

Shoot, that was a long time ago. That was seven or eight ago. But yeah, it's very similar. All offenses and schemes are similar. They all run very similar concepts, but it's the verbiage, the tempo you're running at is what changes. Your reads sometimes change, but yea, it's very similar. We were in the shotgun pretty much the entire time at Mizzou, but I would say most offenses in the NFL are a lot of shotgun now. So there is some similarity to each one I've been in.

On if comfort zone being in shotgun, spread system:

Yeah, you really get to see everything. And that's why it's so fun, because Coach Kelly puts the trust in us. Make the right decision, be definitive with the football, and just run. That's the thing that he says, just stay on time, stay on schedule, and keep the ball moving.

On what receivers are standing out:

I think all those guys are doing a great job, and they're going out there looking to prove themselves. Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, you've got the young guys coming up. All those guys are doing a tremendous job, as well as Torrey, and our tight ends, our running backs. They're all going to catch a lot of footballs. And I think provided a kind of spark to those guys this offseason, that, just run the route and the ball will find you. Those guys been doing a great job so far.

On how Carlos Hyde is looking so far:

Great. He's back healthy, his foot's doing well, and just running around having fun. It's good to see.

On what's unique about Chip Kelly:

He's been great. He's been very detailed, very organized, very direct. And as a quarterback, you want that leadership and that direction with him, Coach Modkins, and Coach Day. They're definitive in what they want the quarterbacks to do, and that makes it easier. There's no gray area, it's black and white. And it makes it easier to go out there, execute, watch the film, and then have constructive talk on what you saw, what they think you should do, and just get better moving that way.

On any one-on-one time with Bruce Miller as he transitions to tight end:

He's been doing great. He had a big catch today out of the slot. He's just a good football. He's always been a great football player. And whatever the team needs Bruce to do, he's willing to do it. Whether that's playing fullback, whether that's catching the ball out of the backfield, getting in the slot now, playing his tight end role, he's been doing a wonderful job.

On if it's easier picking up offense faster with so many different offenses in his career:

Yeah, I feel like I'm getting pretty good at learning them. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. What you put into it is what you're going to get out. And I take pride in thinking I'm a smart guy. You just gotta work diligently throughout the week, especially off the field before the meetings even start so you're prepared going in. Because you're going to get asked questions and you want to be on top of your game. And then when you get out on the football field, you don't want to be thinking. When you're thinking, you're gonna play slow. And that's the biggest thing at the quarterback position, you've got to be reacting and it's got to be muscle memory.