49ers OC sees some of Alex Smith in new starter Blaine Gabbert

By Rachel Wold
Courtesy of USA Today Sports

The San Francisco 49ers, in a desperation attempt to salvage their losing season, are starting Blaine Gabbert instead of Colin Kaepernick in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Offensive coordinator Geep Chyst sees some similarities between former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and Gabbert, who were both first round draft picks at the age of 21.

“Alex came here, was very young and played, had to slug out a lot of tough situations,” Chryst said Thursday, via ESPN.com. “We felt like Blaine had all this talent, and as a young player, maybe a change of scenery would be good for him. He’s really applied himself well in the classroom. He’s engaged and active; he’s a really bright guy.”

We must note Chryst is comparing Gabbert to Smith, who lost his starting job to Kaepernick in 2012 when former head coach John Harbaugh decided to stick with the hot hand after Smith recovered from his concussion. Since that time, Smith has been a solid quarterback for the Chiefs but is not without his flaws.

Recently in an episode of “Around the NFL” it was discussed that quarterbacks such as Smith, who average five to six yards per attempt are stuck in the “Gabbert-zone.” Where Smith can competently bring his mobility into play to offset his struggles with completing longer passes, there is no evidence to suggest that Gabbert will bring to the table what Smith once did for the 49ers.

Needless to say, we’re not impressed with the comparison, and fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for a big turnaround.

Gabbert’s 5-22 record with the Jacksonville Jaguars consisted of him completing 53.3 percent of his passes, averaging only 5.6 yards per attempt, with 22 touchdowns versus 24 interceptions. He finished his tenure with the Jags with a 66.4 quarterback rating.

Chryst continued his assessment of Gabbert.

“He does get the ball out differently; that’s just his style of play,” Chryst said of Gabbert. “We’ll see if that matches up with a spark that we want to get, in terms of the pass game, getting the ball out. But our charge is to still get the run game going.”

He’s not wrong. The 49ers desperately do need to jump start their run game, but with who remains the question. Unfortunately, the team is hurting at the running back position. Carlos Hyde is sidelined with a foot injury and Reggie Bush lost for the season. Therefore, we’ll be seeing Gabbert working with the likes of veterans Shaun Draughn and Pierre Thomas in an attempt to make Chryst’s wishes come true this Sunday.

Chyrst concluded with this.

“We have to let it play out … where we are as an offense, we’ve got to do something. And we’ll leave no stone unturned trying to come up with a plan to win Sunday.”

At the beginning of the season, 49ers fans certainly didn’t think they would be hearing the words “we’ve got to do something” while preparing to watch a former first-round quarterback with one of the worst records in NFL history starting for their team in Week 9.