The training camp battle between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick seems to be tilting in Gabbert’s direction. One week into San Francisco 49ers training camp, Gabbert is impressing.
“The best performance by a quarterback during this camp,” Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat said of Gabbert’s performance. “Completed 23 of 28 attempts and threw two touchdown passes. Also converted three of four third downs.”
Conversely, the assessment of Kaepernick was not so glowing.
“Completed 15 of 24 attempts (63 percent), but struggled in the red zone (no touchdown passes) and on third down, converting just one of seven opportunities.”
This is certainly not a good sign for Kaepernick.
Even during his peak years under Jim Harbaugh’s guidance, Kaepernick often struggled in certain aspects of the game. His speed and arm strength were always apparent, but he struggled on third downs and in the red zone. In 2015, the third down and red zone struggles were still there, but the talent that had so often won the day from 2012-14 was also missing.
If he’s going to be a successful NFL starter again, these are problems that Kaepernick needs to fix. So far, that seems to be something that is still not happening.
As far as Gabbert goes, his performance is promising, but shouldn’t be overvalued. Gabbert looked good at times in 2015 but ultimately was just another in a large group of mediocre NFL quarterbacks.
Looking good in practice is nice. It may well win him the starting job. Still, any optimism should be reserved until either quarterback plays well in games against opposing defenses not wearing red and gold.