DENVER, CO. — Today is Day 2 of the 49ers and Broncos joint practice and once again, Colin Kaepernick will not be participating. The primary quarterbacks that will be playing this coming weekend will be Blaine Gabbert, Jeff Driskle, and newly signed Christian Ponder.
In Week 1 versus the Texans, it was Thad Lewis who received most of the reps and snaps percentage wise. Gabbert had a few series to work with but was used relatively sparingly. This will be the second week that former starter Colin Kaepernick will be sitting out in this quarterback competition.
On the surface, it almost seems like Kaepernick’s plan is to sit out, hope that Gabbert plays bad in the reps that he has, then step in to the Green Bay game and light it up; after all, he has had very good success against the Packers in the games that he has played against them. Week 4, it’s rare to see the starters playing.
So with that, would it be a fair assessment to have Gabbert taking 30-40 more snaps, or more, than Kaepernick? How can one get a good grasp on what a QB is bringing in just a few series. Or is this all a formality and Kaepernick was never in the competition to begin with?
Either way, and whoever starts, it should be noted that they will be on a short leash. If there is any string of games that are well below average, then the quarterback could be replaced. Kelly is no stranger to that and had to deal with using two quarterbacks in 2013, his first year in Philly.
Should Kaepernick have played against the defending World Champs this coming weekend, it would have been easy to call this thing an actual competition. But at this point, one would have to assume just by reps and principle alone that he would be the Week 1 starter on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams. If that is the case, Gabbert will be set up better than he ever has before in his career with a competent offensive line and weapons like Carlos Hyde, Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington, and Vance McDonald to lean on.
Considering all of that, in the assumption that Gabbert will be the de facto starter, should he get more or less reps against Denver? Denver will most likely leave their starting defense in for a bit. Getting those reps against a defense like that in preparation for the regular season could prove to be extremely valuable since the game will not officially count against the Niners in the win-loss column.