Is Blaine Gabbert the Long Term Option for the San Francisco 49ers?


Blaine Gabbert has brought confidence back to the San Francisco 49ers‘ offense, but does that make him the long term option in San Francisco?

Blaine Gabbert has started four games for the San Francisco 49ers, has won two against the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears, and has lost two against the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. Over those four games, Gabbert has thrown for 963 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also run for 140 yards and a touchdown. Gabbert has rejuvenated the 49ers’ offense by playing with the confident demeanor that the 49ers were without when Colin Kaepernick was the starter. Is Gabbert the long-term option for the 49ers?

In his most recent game, Gabbert led the 49ers to victory over the Bears. Gabbert completed 18 passes for 196 yards. He waited until overtime to throw his only touchdown of the game, which was a game-winning 71-yard pass to Torrey Smith. Gabbert also ran for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

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Gabbert did not have a statistically overwhelming game, but he made plays when it counted. The 49ers were forced to come three separate times, and did not have the lead until it mattered most. Playing from behind did not discourage Gabbert.

Bears’ running back Ka’Deem Carey scored a touchdown with three minutes and 32 seconds left in the game, giving the Bears a 20-13 lead. Gabbert responded with a 44-yard touchdown run on the following drive. Gabbert did not stop there. After his run forced the game into overtime, Gabbert struck again, throwing the 71-yard pass to Smith for the win.

Gabbert has done better than Kaepernick in just about every statistical category this season. He has a higher completion percentage, yards thrown per game and a higher passer rating. Gabbert has played four less games than Kaepernick but is on pace to surpass the former starter in total yards and touchdowns by the end of the season. Gabbert has exceeded all expectations since taking over for Kaepernick. Is Gabbert a long-term option, or is he just a better option than Kaepernick?

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At 26 years old, Gabbert is in the midst of his fifth season in the National Football League. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Gabbert with the tenth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Gabbert was a highly touted prospect out of the University of Missouri but failed to impress during his time with the Jaguars. Throughout his career with the Jaguars, Gabbert threw for 22 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. 2012 was his best statistical season but he only played in ten games, and won only one.

Gabbert’s professional career has been unimpressive. The stats are reflective of his inconsequential career and he has never come close to passing the “eye test,” until now. Gabbert has not blown anyone away with mind-boggling numbers in the past four games, but he has played with confidence. He looks calm in the pocket and acts like he belongs there.

Right now, Gabbert is a much better option than Kaepernick. Playing for teams that boast limited talent has plagued Gabbert, and the Jaguars have not had a winning record since 2007. The 49ers have gone from Super Bowl runner-up to cellar dwellers in two seasons. On top of that, offensive standouts Anquan Boldin and Carlos Hyde have been nursing injuries all season.

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Gabbert has made the most of his opportunity in San Francisco amidst unfortunate circumstances. Whether or not he is the 49ers’ quarterback of the future remains to be seen. The confidence and enthusiasm that he brings has surely guaranteed him the opportunity to prove that the Blaine Gabbert era has begun.