Blaine Gabbert likely inches closer to 49ers starting QB job

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Frank Schwab
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DENVER — It’s easier to win a starting quarterback job when your main competition can’t play.

Blaine Gabbert was nothing special on Saturday night against the Denver Broncos, but he wasn’t bad either, and Colin Kaepernick hasn’t even entered the race yet.

Kaepernick is dealing with a dead arm, or a tired arm, or whatever the 49ers want to label it. Kaepernick’s shoulder is hurting, although he threw about 50 passes in warmups, according to CSN Bay Area. He is expected to practice next week and play in the 49ers’ third preseason game. Still, time is running out for Kaepernick to win the starting job. Kaepernick didn’t play in the 49ers’ preseason opener either.

Gabbert didn’t do anything to lose his spot in line on Saturday. He completed 6 of 9 passes for 69 yards. Most of them were safe, short passes to tight ends. When your competition is in street clothes, that might be enough.

Blaine Gabbert (AP)
Blaine Gabbert is the leader in the clubhouse to start Week 1 vs. the Rams. (AP)

It’s not like Gabbert offers a ton of upside. He played OK for a while last season, but he’s nobody’s idea of a high-end starting quarterback. Kaepernick actually has been a high-end starting quarterback, but after two down seasons and a wasted preseason to this point, those days seem long ago.

Maybe Kaepernick plays so well in the final two preseason games he wins the job, though that won’t be easy after essentially missing all offseason recuperating from surgeries. Gabbert is the safer choice for Week 1. He didn’t give the coaches any reason on Saturday night to think otherwise.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!