Blaine Gabbert Named 49ers' Starting QB over Colin Kaepernick

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) throws as quarterback Blaine Gabbert watches during NFL football training camp Sunday, July 31, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly has chosen his starting quarterback ahead of the 2016 season.

Continue for updates.

Kelly Names Gabbert Starter 

Saturday, Sept. 3

Kelly announced Blaine Gabbert will start Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams, with Colin Kaepernick serving in a backup role.

Kaepernick Reportedly Could be Released This Season

Sunday, Aug. 28

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer said he would be "shocked" if Kaepernick is on the 49ers' 53-man roster at the end of the season (via RotoWorld). Glazer said Kaepernick "may not even be on [the roster] in the next two weeks." 

Kelly Comments on Kaepernick's Future with 49ers

Saturday, Aug. 27

When asked whether the team had considered cutting Kaepernick, Kelly told reporters the 49ers have "never had a conversation about that."

49ers OC Comments on QB Battle

Tuesday, Aug. 23

Forty-niners offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins told reporters "it's not time" to name a starting quarterback, adding: "It's a competition, and Kap hasn't had a chance to perform yet."

On Aug. 9, he told reporters: "We haven’t decided yet on how we’re going to do it. We’ll figure that out as we get closer to the first game. Right now, we’re in training-camp mode. We’re in installation mode. We’re in teaching-the-offense mode. We’ll kind of figure out the game plan as far as reps and all that in a few days."

When it comes to qualities that could separate one quarterback from another, Modkins provided a simplistic outline of how the team will choose its opening-day signal-caller.

"Whether you score or not," Modkins said. "Who leads the team down the field? Who’s gaining first downs? Who’s leading us to touchdowns? That’s a really good indicator."

Gabbert and Kaepernick are both said to have flashed positive traits throughout training camp, but the latter may have a slight edge with regular-season action approaching.

"Kap's done a good job," Modkins said Aug. 4, per CSNBayArea.com's Matt Maiocco. "He was very visible in the spring. He was around here, doing all he could do. He's done all we've asked him to do so far. The competition is really just getting started. I've seen [Kaepernick] from afar for a long time. He's a good player. And I think he's right on track."

B/R Discusses Kaepernick vs. Gabbert Battle

Wednesday, Aug. 17

Bleacher Report's Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe broke down the 49ers quarterbacks on Team Stream Now:

Kaepernick's Shoulder Injury Could be Factor

Monday, Aug. 15

Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported on how Kaepernick's shoulder injury is affecting the 49ers' quarterback battle:

Kaepernick's Mobility Could Be Bonus for Kelly's Uptempo Offense

Gabbert and Kaepernick's Career Numbers
PlayerStartsPass YdsComp. %TDINTRush YdsRush TD
Blaine Gabbert356,42655.833313761
Colin Kaepernick4710,03059.956261,83211
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Kelly has made it a point to split practice reps evenly between Gabbert and Kaepernick, according to the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows.

"Whoever starts a drill, you know, the next drill up, the next time we have a team period, then someone else will start that drill," Kelly said, per Barrows. "So who starts the first one isn’t the most important thing. It’s justlet’s get some quality reps for both Blaine and Kap, and I think they’ve done a good job taking advantage of that."

If Kelly's three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles proved anything, it's that his offenses are at their best when he is able to deploy a quarterback who excels when it comes to hitting receivers with accurate throws in short-to-intermediate windows.

Kaepernick is the superior athlete, and if the 49ers struggle, it wouldn't be surprising to see them make a change at the quarterback position.