49ers to start Blaine Gabbert over Colin Kaepernick at quarterback

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Chip Kelly says Blaine Gabbert's ability to get more reps in the preseason helped him grasp the offense faster than Colin Kaepernick.

49ers to start Blaine Gabbert over Colin Kaepernick at quarterback

Chip Kelly says Blaine Gabbert's ability to get more reps in the preseason helped him grasp the offense faster than Colin Kaepernick.

Chip Kelly is handing the keys to his wide-open offense to quarterback Blaine Gabbert, ending one of the most-watched quarterback battles of the preseason.

Kelly told reporters Saturday he met with both Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick and told them Gabbert will start the opener against the Rams. He said Gabbert had the advantage in the preseason because he was healthy and able to get more reps than Kaepernick.

"I think (Gabbert's) grasp and command of what we're doing, I think he's a good fit for what we want to get accomplished," Kelly said, via ESPN. "I have a lot of confidence in what he can do with us offensively.

"I think Kap is still coming off of getting himself healthy, 100 percent go. He has been cleared to play, but he still knows he's got some work to do. He's not up to his playing weight that he was when he was successful here, and he'll continue to work on that. He missed a couple weeks there with the arm [soreness] and that set him back a little bit in terms of his ability to compete for it, but the timetable was the timetable and right now we feel like Blaine is the starter."

Gabbert outperformed Kaepnerick in preseason games, completing 12-of-22 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown for a passer rating of 90.3. Kaepernick had a passer rating of 67.5, completing 13-of-24 for 117 yards.

There had been some question about whether Kaepernick would even make San Francisco's final 53-man roster, not because of his controversial stance on the national anthem, but because of his contract structure. Kaepernick has $25 million in injury guarantees in his contract. The 49ers kept not only Kaepernick, but veteran quarterback Christian Ponder, who signed with the team in mid-August.

"I think you need to have three [quarterbacks] in this league with the injury rate of quarterbacks," Kelly said. "I have never been comfortable with keeping two. I think you need to have three, and I think Christian's performance, coming in on a short week against Denver and how he played there and the performance of how he played last Thursday night against San Diego, gave him the opportunity to earn the No. 3 spot."

 

 

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