Blaine Gabbert: How Does He Change The San Francisco 49ers Offense?


It looks like Blaine Gabbert is finally getting his shot now that HC Jim Tomsula and the San Francisco 49ers have reportedly benched Colin Kaepernick. On Monday, a day before the NFL trade deadline, Kyle McLorg announced that the change had finally been made.

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This move came on the heels of a report from Jason Cole of Bleacher Report that multiple 49er players were calling for Kaepernick to be benched. Kaepernick has struggled thus far this season and has rarely looked comfortable under center.

Hopefully, this move will inspire the quarterback who was once considered to be the future of the organization to work his way back to the startling role. For now, Gabbert is the man.

Along with Cam Newton, Gabbert was considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft. Gabbert started the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Missouri Tigers. After deciding to forgo his senior season, he was highly a sought after draft pick. had this to say in their pre-draft notes,

"“Gabbert has prototypical size and excellent speed for the position. Shows the ability to make the right pre-snap reads. Possesses a quick release and has the arm strength to make all the throws. Well-balanced passer that rarely misses on short-to-intermediate throws. Extremely mobile to extend plays and fast enough to move the chains. Vocal leader and hard worker.”"

Unfortunately, Gabbert has yet to show much of this during his time in the NFL. After being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gabbert has failed to live up to expectations. Many of his early struggles were attributed to injuries and a lack of offensive weapons around him.

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After three disappointing seasons in Jacksonville, Gabbert was traded to the 49ers in 2014 for a sixth round draft pick. He made his regular season debut against the Denver Broncos last year where he completed three passes for 38 yards and one touchdown — all in garbage time.

So, how will Gabbert play in his first full start for the 49ers during the regular season? Experts have constantly said that Gabbert has plenty of potential — the fulfillment of that potential has yet to be seen though.

It would be optimistic to say that Gabbert will finally live up to his potential and turn the 49ers’ offense around. Not only would it be optimistic, it would be entirely unfair to place that kind of weight on Gabbert’s shoulders.

He is inheriting an offense that is banged up and without serious playmakers to help carry the load. The 49ers have already traded Vernon Davis, while Carlos Hyde and Anquan Boldin are nursing injuries. Even if they do suit up against the Falcons, who knows how much they will be able to do.

Aug 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) rolls out of the pocket during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-12. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

It will be interesting to see how both coaching staffs build their game plan around this change. The Falcons have one of the best run-defenses in the NFL, but struggle mightily against the pass. They also only have ten sacks, tied for the second lowest mark in the league.

Do the 49ers let Gabbert throw from the outset? Or, do they try to establish the run against one of the best units in the NFL?

Look for the 49ers to try and utilize short passes early in an effort to help Gabbert ease in to the game. Gabbert can also move the ball with his legs if the offensive line is able to keep the Falcons pass rush at bay.

Unfortunately, the offensive line has not been able to do that very well this year.

Next: 49ers v Rams Open Thread

It is a tough scenario for Gabbert to inherit, but he has nothing to lose. Experts have mentioned the vast amount of potential he has — now would be a great time to show it. That being said, look for the 49ers coaching staff to ease him in to the game and hope that the defense can keep a struggling Falcons’ offense in check.