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Tim Ryan on Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, 49ers offense

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Ryan is one of the few media folks who gets to watch all of practice.

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback position is a question mark for most of us. We find ourselves wondering when a change will be made. We’ve heard Chip Kelly mention Colin Kaepernick’s weight, suggesting he can play, but he’s not yet ready to be the No. 1 quarterback.

49ers radio announcer Tim Ryan discussed this issue on Wednesday on KNBR. I am sometimes skeptical when Ryan speaks about the team because I often wonder what’s influenced by the front office. That being said, he brought up some interesting points about Kaepernick, and couched them in reasons that make some logical sense.

Ryan said Gabbert is out-performing Kaepernick in practice. However, he pointed out that Kaepernick is not the same physical specimen he was compared to before the injuries. When you consider that and his inability to throw for most of the offseason workout program, along with a couple weeks of arm fatigue in training camp, it is no surprise he might still be behind Gabbert.

Of course, we also don’t know when the team will decide Kaepernick is ready to potentially take over as the starter. Two weeks ago, Kelly said in a set of 12 practice snaps, Gabbert was getting nine and Kaepernick was getting three. It makes sense given that we are out of camp and well into the season. But now it’s a matter of, when does that change?

Here is a transcript of Ryan’s comments about Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, and some of the offensive issues. You can listen to Ryan’s September 28 comments here.

On replacing Gabbert with Kaepernick if things get ugly Sunday:

Yea umm, wow, I don’t know. I don’t want to envision if it gets that ugly against Dallas, because I don’t think it’s going to. I just think that, and I’ve been out here at practice enough, fellas. I come to most of the practices, and watched them, watched the offense and the quarterbacks quite a bit.

And when you watch practice, man, Blaine’s the better option. Blaine looks like the better player. Blaine’s been running the system longer, since he’s been here from the start of OTAs. So, I was kind of hoping at the start of the year that the leash would be long, because I did envision struggles for sure, when you look at the offense collectively in the passing game. I do think it’s going to get better. This guy they brought in that played for New England last year (Keshawn Martin), I think he’s going to end up playing quite a bit this year, obviously. But no, man, I don’t think the leash is short on Blaine.

And listen, Colin is physically, I don’t think he’s the Colin that he was a couple years ago.

On if locker room would want Kap before season potentially gets away from them:

Yea, you know, that might happen. But I don’t think collectively, and the guys that have been here, and the guys that have obviously sit down and watched the practice tape every day, and know what’s going on out there, I don’t think it would happen, like verbally, an outcry from the locker room.

On his playing weight:

No, I think it’s a legitimate deal. And that’s what I was alluding to just a minute ago, in terms of, he’s just not the same guy physically. Can he still do it? Can he still get out there and play quarterback in the NFL? I certainly think he can. But when you look at him, in terms of his body structure now, and I bet you he’s down 12, 15 pounds, I would say, from where he was when he was at his best. And I think the thing is, a lot of that from the surgery, and from his rehab, and he even admitted it, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but for a guy who’s already got a high cut and frame, and then you take that much muscle mass off, it does become an issue.

On how he is handling on the protest stuff and if it impacts view of his playing leadership:

Yea, I don’t know, since I’m not in the locker room and privy to those conversations, and I don’t ask guys. But I do think that you’re right, in terms of, I don’t think it’s divided the team, or fractured the team in any way. And I think in some ways, it’s brought guys closer to Colin in terms of relationships.

On Blaine Gabbert:

Well, here’s the thing on Blaine, here’s how I see it, and it does have to get better. Receivers have to get better, tight ends have to get better, it’s all gotta get better collectively. But the offensive line, man, I think that’s the story that’s kinda getting lost, in terms of what they’re doing in protection. Not every play, they don’t block the run perfectly, but guys are moving people, guys are getting them on their back, guys are finishing blocks.

Blaine got hit twice in Seattle, twice, no sacks. So I think the next level for him is kinda, you gotta get out of the textbook a little bit, and kinda reset your feet, trust your offensive line, and then more big play opportunities will be there. I think a lot of it has been so much of repetition, get it out, get it out, get it out, and he can get it out, when he does get it out. But I think there’s other times where you’ve gotta go past that part of the playbook, and go, maybe we look for a big play, and reset your feet, and boom, turn back, there’s a big over route going over the top. They can’t cover forever, that’s for damn sure.

On receivers struggles with getting YAC:

Well, and listen, Seattle’s pretty darn good at defending that. And Carolina with those linebackers are pretty good at defending it, and that type of scheme. Because what those guys do Larry, really, is they get in a form of man, or matchup zone, whatever you wanna call it, and they sit at six yards, dude, they sit at six yards and say we’re gonna blow anything up in front of the sticks. And they do the same thing when it’s third and 9, third and 12, they just get in a position because they know it’s gonna come out quick, whether they have good rush or because it’s a rhythmic offense, that counts on it getting quick, and they just blow people up. So, it’s hard to get yards after the catch, a) if there’s not a lot of separation, and then b) if the ball’s not real accurate. But those defenders and how they play have something to do with it too the last couple games.