The San Francisco 49ers were spanked by the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, showing very little of anything for 3.5 quarters of football. We’ll get into the defensive woes, but for now, I think a lot of folks want to vent about Blaine Gabbert.
The 49ers starting QB finished Sunday 14 of 25 for 119 yards and an interception. He frequently threw short of the sticks on third down, as the 49ers failed to convert their first ten such opportunities. The 49ers were 1-1 with a failed comeback attempt against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2, but it has been clear that Gabbert is not the answer at quarterback.
I will concede that he has questionable skill position players at wide receiver and tight end. The Seahawks were blanketing them for extended periods, so that is something to consider.
That being said, the question now is what to do at the quarterback position. The team scored a pair of late rushing touchdowns after the game was well out of hand. Otherwise, there was nothing of real note from the offense. It would have made a lot of sense to replace Gabbert at halftime, but Chip Kelly stuck with him.
There has been plenty of speculation as to when the 49ers might make a switch to Colin Kaepernick. Whether the former starter is the answer himself remains to be seen, but could he be any worse than Gabbert at this point? If Gabbert does not improve a change has to happen. I’ve seen people suggest anywhere from immediately to during the bye in Week 8.
In the post-game press conference, Chip Kelly said he had not considered replacing Gabbert with Kaepernick during this game. And I am inclined to believe him. If the 49ers were to bench Gabbert today, that would seem to indicate it is time to give Colin Kaepernick an extended look. Kelly has made it clear he wants a full look at things at the position in order to make his decisions. Midway through the second straight road game, I would have been surprised to see a change.
They are not going to make a change after the Cowboys game heading into a short week against the Arizona Cardinals. That means they either make the change now, or they wait until after the short week. They would have ten days until the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. If they do not make the change that week, then they might as well wait until the bye week to give Kaepernick two weeks of preparation.
On Saturday, I put together a poll asking when Gabbert would be replaced by Kaepernick. Surprisingly, a small plurality said before the TNF game. I’m thinking people might have confused that with anytime between now and then, not the week leading up to it. Next up was during the bye week, followed by before Week 6, followed by not during this season.
When will something happen? I don’t think it happens yet, but if we see similar performances against the Cowboys and Cardinals, I don’t see how the 49ers can justify keeping Gabbert in as starter.