The San Francisco 49ers settled on their 53-man roster over the weekend, or at least one version of it. On Monday, the team claimed Taylor Hart from the Philadelphia Eagles, and cut Bruce Miller. They will make further changes over the course of the season, but we at least have a really good idea of the Week 1 roster. With that in mind, I thought we would take a look at each position and compare it with the roster in Week 17 and Week 1 last year. We start with the quarterback position.
Current: Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder
Week 17, 2015: Blaine Gabbert, Dylan Thompson (PS: McLeod Bethel-Thompson)
Week 1, 2015: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert (PS: Dylan Thompson)
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Blaine Gabbert took over as the starter midway through last season, and he remains the starter. Colin Kaepernick opened last season as the starter, lost his job, and then was placed on injured reserve.
Heading into Week 1, the 49ers are starting Gabbert, but his status for the season is far from a sure thing. Chip Kelly said that Colin Kaepernick is the No. 2, which means he will dress on game day. Kelly also said the team will only dress two quarterbacks, so Christian Ponder will be one of the weekly inactives for the time being.
Odds are pretty good that we see more than one quarterback start a game for the 49ers this season. Injuries are always a factor, but with this group, ineffectiveness is firmly on our radar. The 49ers have a tough schedule, opening with a handful of tough defenses. Gabbert could survive that early string, but a mid-season replacement would not surprise me at all.
It gets interesting with Kaepernick given the turmoil in his relationship with the 49ers. He asked for a trade this offseason. That did not work out, and Chip Kelly had him split training camp snaps with Gabbert. The shoulder fatigue ended that competition, and while Kaepernick did get back on the field, it seemed inevitable that Gabbert would be the Week 1 starter. There has been some thought the team might deactivate Kaepernick each week to avoid injury, and release him after the season. Kelly gets final say on the game-day 46, but I imagine he and Trent Baalke have had extensive discussions about the quarterback position. And for now, it looks like Kaepernick will be active, with a chance to get back on the field.