Chip Kelly met with the media on Tuesday, and he clarified the quarterback position for this Thursday’s preseason finale. He said that while the practice reps remain split in practice, Blaine Gabbert will not play Thursday against the San Diego Chargers. Kelly said the reason is that they want to get Colin Kaepernick more snaps due to his absence the first two games. He pointed to Gabbert having 43 snaps thus far, while Kaepernick has 13.
Kelly would not declare a starter for Week 1, but it is at least interesting that Gabbert is sitting. Week 4 is when a lot of starters don’t play. The snap disparity is certainly something of note, and that is one of the reasons Gabbert is likely to be starting when Week 1 rolls around.
Kelly got some questions about the cuts and if the team would cut Kaepernick. He said the team had not had plans to cut a quarterback in the cut to 75 players, so they have had no such discussion. He was directly asked if Kaepernick was one of the two best quarterbacks right now, and he said point blank, “Yes.”
Kelly does not have control of the 53-man roster, so just because he thinks Kaepernick is one of the two best quarterbacks, that does not mean he makes the roster. My guess is he does make the roster. Nothing would surprise me this week, but add in the team sending him out there (and the potential for injury and his injury guarantees), I just don’t see them cutting him yet.