New San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly revealed that he doesn't see much of a difference between quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert when he spoke with 95.7 The Game on Thursday (via Nunzio Ingrassia of Fox Sports):
They're similar. They have a similar skill set. They're both 6-foot-4-plus. They both can really run, which will help keep plays alive. Obviously, we're not a quarterback-run offense, but if the quarterback can run, you can use a little of that to your advantage. And they both have extremely strong arms. So, from a skill set standpoint, the two of them are kind of cut out of the same mold.
In terms of football success, though, there are not as many similarities, as Kaepernick has experienced plenty more highs on the field:
|Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert Career Breakdown|
Granted, Gabbert spent a majority of his time on the field with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that hasn't had a winning record since 2007, four years before it took Gabbert 10th overall in the draft.
He went 3-5 in eight games with the 49ers last season after Kaepernick was benched and later placed on the season-ending injured reserve list because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.
Gabbert did record a career-high 63.1 completion percentage and managed to surprise some people with his athleticism, as the NFL showed:
Kaepernick, on the other hand, was the young quarterback who helped drive Alex Smith out of San Francisco as he led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII thanks to his athleticism and rocket arm.
But after the 49ers experienced heavy losses over the following years with the retirements of Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Justin Smith, along with the departure of Frank Gore, Kaepernick wasn't enough to carry the team to success.
It looked like Kaepernick's time in San Francisco was coming to an end during the spring, when ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that he was almost shipped to the Denver Broncos, but the deal fell through.
Kelly sounds like he could be preparing 49ers fans for Gabbert to win the starting job with favorable comparisons to Kaepernick. It's that, or he's having a difficult time picking a front-runner for the position.
Either way, Kelly and his choice under center will be tasked with trying to turn around a franchise that quickly fell from conference contender to doormat in a two-year span.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.