The San Francisco 49ers quarterback competition took a step forward on Tuesday as Colin Kaepernick was finally able to take part in individual work and 7-on-7 drills. He spent the past two months rehabbing, and while he is not fully cleared for 11-on-11 work yet, all indications are he will be ready to go fully at training camp.
Chip Kelly has said Kaepernick is not behind in any competition. He has talked about him being a full participant in the classroom, and continuing his rehab work. It is not exactly surprising, but naturally people will consider whether or not this is actually the case. And now, a week into June, there are two reports about where things might stand.
On Tuesday, Mike Silver made an appearance on NFL Total Access, and suggested Blaine Gabbert is on track to start the opener.
"Gabbert is the heavy favorite...I'd be shocked if he's not the starter in the opener"— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) June 7, 2016
- @MikeSilver on SF QBs pic.twitter.com/RpUEdKXXEM
Silver certainly has plenty of sources. He has been hit or miss on some things, but he's not just some random dude off the street. 11 days ago, NFL writer and radio personality Benjamin Allbright suggested that Chip Kelly favored Kaepernick at that point.
@OchoFisho @E_Dilla early word is Kelly prefers Kaepernick to Gabbert— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) May 27, 2016
@JohnnyChristo @E_Dilla @OchoFisho He's excited by the idea of Kap's tools— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) May 30, 2016
Plenty can happen in 11 days, but given the strength of Silver's statement, I would be surprised if Silver was hearing significantly different prior to today. Allbright is not a big name in the media, but he has broken a decent amount of news in the past. You can believe who you want in all this, and I am not going to take either one of them as rock solid evidence of one quarterback being in front of the other. I do happen to think Gabbert would have an edge just given the 9 days of OTAs for implementing the offense.
Nine days and Tuesday's extra 11-on-11 work shouldn't make or break the competition, but it could be a nice boon for Gabbert. After Thursday, we'll get to sit and wait a month and a half for the 49ers to return for training camp. At that point, we'll start to get some real answers. For now, I imagine we can expect a ton of speculation on who is where in this competition. And Chip Kelly is not going to provide any answers. Should be fun!