Sunday, January 1, 2017, 3:07pm
Saturday, December 24, 2016, 3:10pm
After getting his first repetitions with the offense and not just the scout team in practice last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Christian Ponder was on the active 46-man roster for the first time this season Sunday in Atlanta.
So, with three games left in the season at the time of his promotion to above Blaine Gabbert on the depth chart, why now?
"Because we’ve seen him in practice do some really good things and earn a spot," Kelly said. "It’s got nothing to do with Kap. I thought Kap played well [against Atlanta]. It’s just that [Ponder] earned the spot as the No. 2. I think he and Blaine are battling. Blaine’s been great, and I think both of those guys can play, but you can only dress two right now. We may dress three next week because we won’t have enough [players] to dress."
It wasn't a surprise that Ponder was the backup to Colin Kaepernick in a season during which he's been the only of the team's three quarterbacks not to get an opportunity to play in coach Chip Kelly's offense, the story said. When Ponder began getting more than scout team work, it was a clear signal he was going to get a chance to be active sooner rather than later.
Sunday, December 18, 2016, 2:40pm
49ers coach Chip Kelly wasn’t ready to name a starter after benching Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert during last Sunday’s loss to the Bears, but offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins spilled the beans on Tuesday. Modkins met with the media in Kelly’s place as the head coach is away from the team following the death of his father and announced that Kaepernick will make another start.
Friday, October 21, 2016, 6:26pm
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6:10pm
On Monday afternoon, San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly confirmed what likely didn't come as much of a surprise: Colin Kaepernick will remain the starting quarterback for the game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Related players: Blaine Gabbert
Kelly thought Kaepernick played "OK" but could obviously improve. His numbers were similar to what Gabbert has posted but did misfire on open receivers.
“They were probably keying on me because they don’t respect Blaine’s speed until he pulls it and he breaks one,” Hyde said. “And they said, ‘All right, never mind, we can’t play it like that.’ Maybe they’ll come at it differently with Kap being back there. Around the league, they know Kap can run the ball, so maybe they’ll play it differently.”
Hyde is the NFL’s eighth-leading rusher with 377 yards and six touchdowns. But with a 4.0-yard average, those yards have not come easily. Kaepernick’s experience and success in running the zone read could prove beneficial for Hyde. After all, it is clear that Hyde has been the central figure of the 49ers' offense.
Chip Kelly's system is quarterback-friendly (remember Nick Foles?). Blaine Gabbert is 17th in fantasy scoring despite dreadful passing numbers (58% completion, 5.9 YPA) since he leads all QBs in rushing yards. Kaepernick has the wheels to do even better as a runner, and it would be tough to do much worse in the passing game. He should offer low-end QB2/streaming value in good matchups, but this week's matchup with the Bills does not qualify. The move throws Jeremy Kerley's value up in the air, but it may breathe some life into Torrey Smith. Keep in mind that Smith wasn't terribly productive with Kaepernick last year, averaging 2.0 catches for 42 yards and 0.25 touchdowns in eight games.
After San Francisco's 33-21 Week 5 loss to the Cardinals, 49ers HC Chip Kelly told reporters of the Mercury News that he's "not naming any starters for Buffalo, so just don’t rule anything out" and reiterated his sentiments on Monday morning saying that "We're looking at every option" at QB.
Related players: Blaine Gabbert
If Colin Kaepernick does, in fact, become the 49ers starter, he may offer value as a low-end QB2 in two-QB leagues or a streamer in the right matchup. Chip Kelly has a history of making his quarterbacks fantasy-relevant and we know that he'll let Kaepernick use his legs, as Blaine Gabbert leads all QBs in rushing yards this season.
After a training camp quarterback competition that never really materialized because Colin Kaepernick was working his way back from injury, San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly made the obvious choice in naming Blaine Gabbert his starter.
Of course, whenever a competition takes place, the natural assumption is that the winner will be on a shorter leash than other starters might be. While we have yet to see just how long Kelly and the Niners will go without at least taking a look at Kaepernick in a game situation, it doesn't sound like it will be happening right away.
"He's our starter and I’ve got a lot of confidence in Blaine," Kelly said. "So we're not thinking or talking about not having Blaine in there. It's about everybody on offense playing better right now."
Gabbert hasn't been great in the team's first two games. But, the other piece of the quarterback equation is Colin Kaepernick, who doesn't yet seem to be all the way back from his injuries. He reported for training camp below his normal playing weight of 225 pounds. While Kelly doesn't know Kaepernick's exact weight, he's indicated that Kaepernick isn't yet back to where he used to be, though he's making progress.
He’s the team’s top option at slot receiver – a feature role in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense – and also will handle punt returns when the Rams visit Levi’s Stadium on Monday.
Kerley is in position to see a lot of passes. During spring and summer practices, the 49ers’ top slot receiver, Bruce Ellington, was a frequent target of quarterback Blaine Gabbert and seemed poised for a big season. He's the only player on the roster who fits Kelly’s ideal mold for a slot receiver: rabbit quick, a fast accelerator and – especially critical this week – mentally sharp.
“I think he’s a wily veteran. He’s been around,” Kelly said of Kerley. “I think having Curtis and Bob here has really helped him. But you can tell right away that Jeremy’s a pretty smart football player.”
Kerley’s best season was 2012 when he had 56 catches for 827 yards for the Jets.
Kerley is worth consideration in deep PPR formats, but he's unlikely to be a fantasy factor in most leagues.
Gabbert’s appointment was anticipated, more so from his body of work since the spring rather than any side effect of Kaepernick’s national-anthem protests for racial equality.
“It’s his whole body of work, from April until today,” Kelly said of Gabbert on a media conference call. “(With) his grasp and command of what we’re doing, he’s a good fit for what we want to get accomplished, and I have a lot of confidence in what he could do with us, offensively.”
Blaine Gabbert already had the advantage in the San Francisco 49ers quarterback competition when it came to repetitions. You could also put a check next to Gabbert's name when it came to production. Now, with one meaningless preseason game and a couple weeks of practice before the season opener, time is also on Gabbert's side.
Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick made his preseason debut in Friday night's 21-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. In an exhibition season in which Kaepernick missed two preseason contests and nearly two weeks of practice, Kaepernick's body of work paled in comparison to Gabbert's. The prevailing outside sentiment entering Friday's game was that Kaepernick could still theoretically win the job, but he would need a big performance against the Packers to have a chance.
As you'd expect for someone playing in his first live NFL game since Nov. 8, Kaepernick couldn't muster the magic needed to get back in the mix, the story said. In just one quarter, Kaepernick was 2-of-6 for 14 yards passing with four carries for 18 yards. When Kaepernick was at the helm, the Niners managed just one first down. If Gabbert is named the starter, there's at least some fantasy streaming potential there in Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense that runs a lot of plays.
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