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Football quiet leads to speculation Jeff Driskel has shot at 49ers starting QB job

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It's a slow time in the football world, so it is not surprising minicamp comments are blown out of proportion. The latest example involves 49ers quarterback Jeff Driskel.

It would not be the offseason without overreaction to comments from San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers wrapped up their offseason workout program last week with a three-day mandatory minicamp. Kelly held three media sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and that much time with the media means a sizable chunk of players and/or positions will be addressed by Kelly.

On Thursday, he was asked about Jeff Driskel, and how the quarterback has adapted to the offense. I’ve transcribed it down below, but Kelly said he’s “done a really nice job”, and described him as athletic, big and having a good arm. He also said he’s got a “very, very good football IQ” and is processing things really well. It’s good to hear about the quarterback, but it’s not exactly ground-breaking information.

Matt Maiocco wrote an article over the weekend, discussing the positive comments, and also the potential special teams work Driskel could do. We wrote about that as well, with Derius Swinton talking about Driskel as a potential personal protector for the punter.

Maiocco’s article resulted in two separate articles in the national media asking whether Driskel might be able to claim the starting quarterback job. Pro Football Talk went first just before 9 a.m. PT. They talked about the special teams potential, but closed with a couple paragraphs on how if Colin Kaepernick is traded or cut, Driskel could have a theoretical chance of eventually starting.

That was followed at 2:30 p.m. PT by NFL.com posting an article that focused on Driskel’s potential as a quarterback. I’m guessing they saw Florio’s article, went to Maiocco’s linked article, and decided to take their angle. The PFT article was titled “Jeff Driskel, future 49ers starting quarterback?” and the NFL.com article was titled “Is Jeff Driskel making a run at 49ers starting gig?”

I don't think Jeff Driskel has a serious chance at claiming the starting role, but I will certainly never say never. Crazy things happen with under-the-radar prospects. And it’s not like the 49ers quarterback situation is entirely settled. But I also think these articles are the product of not much happening in the football world this weekend, and so we might as well take some fairly innocuous comments and turn them into something big.

Here's the transcript of Kelly’s comments about Driskel.

What have you seen from QB Jeff Driskel in the time you’ve had him and how he’s been able to adapt to what you’re asking him to do?

“I think he’s done a really nice job. He’s really intelligent. Picked things up conceptually very quickly. Was exposed to a couple of systems because he was at Florida and then Louisiana Tech. Sometimes guys that are just coming from one system, I think he’s already been exposed to multiple systems at the college level, so we’ve been impressed with him. He’s very athletic. I think he was the fastest quarterback at the combine. He’s big. He’s got a good arm.”

Do you see the wheels turning?

“Oh, yeah. He’s really smart. Very, very good football IQ. He processes it really well.”

Do you appreciate his willingness to help out with look team defense and special teams and the more he can do?

“Yeah. We talked to him about it in the draft process. It was something, he’s just a football player. He just wants to play football and whatever he can do to make a team, he’s going to try to do it.”