Christian Ponder Reportedly Has Support to Replace Blaine Gabbert as 49ers QB

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2016

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 1: Christian Ponder #5 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a 1-yard touchdown during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 1, 2016 in San Diego, California. The 49ers defeated the Chargers 31-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

A quarterback change could be in the cards for the San Francisco 49ers, but a new report suggests there is internal hope that Christian Ponder will be the beneficiary rather than Colin Kaepernick

According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, Ponder has support from some of his offensive teammates to go from third-stringer to starter ahead of both Blaine Gabbert and Kaepernick.

A locker room source told Maiocco that "Ponder is the best option for quarterback on the roster."

The 49ers lost their fourth consecutive game Thursday night, falling 33-21 to the Arizona Cardinals. Gabbert threw for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the defeat, and Niners head coach Chip Kelly didn't rule out a change of direction, per ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner

"I think we're going to look at everything," he said. "We are 1-4; we have got to make sure we're going out there and giving us the best chance to win, so we're going to look at everything."

Kelly added Friday that the coaching staff hadn't gotten into any specifics regarding potential changes, according to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group:

Cam Inman @CamInman

#49ers Chip Kelly: we haven't talked anything about who's starting at any position

San Francisco lists Kaepernick as its backup. He has dressed for all five games but has yet to attempt a pass this season.

Per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, however, former NFL executive Joe Banner told a story on ESPN's NFL Insiders that suggests Kelly has long coveted Ponder and the manner in which he could fit his uptempo offense:

Banner interviewed Chip Kelly in 2013 for the Cleveland Browns' job. When he asked which NFL quarterback fit what he would be looking for in the NFL version of his offense, Kelly responded: Christian Ponder. Kelly wanted a quarterback who provides the threat of a run even if he doesn't do it often. Ponder, of course, is currently Kelly's No. 3 quarterback with the 49ers.

The Minnesota Vikings selected Ponder No. 12 overall in the 2011 NFL draft, two spots after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Gabbert and 24 picks ahead of where the Niners drafted Kaepernick.

Ponder spent four seasons with the Vikes, going 14-21-1 as a starter and throwing for 6,658 yards, 38 touchdowns and 36 interceptions total.

The former Florida State standout also rushed for 639 yards and seven touchdowns, and his mobility could work well in Kelly's scheme.

Ponder hasn't taken a regular-season snap since 2014, but San Francisco is in a desperate situation with the season quickly slipping away.

There may not be a true answer at quarterback on the roster, but Kelly can ill afford to sit idly by much longer as Gabbert continues to struggle.


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