Arizona will once again play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and this time Cardinals cornerback Tyrann Mathieu will be facing Blaine Gabbert instead of Colin Kaepernick.
Comparing the two quarterbacks after analyzing game tapes, Mathieu has come to the conclusion that Gabbert is the better of the two.
“That’s not to take anything away from Kaepernick, but it seems like Gabbert has a little bit better grip on what’s going on,” Mathieu said, via Matt Maiocco of csnbayarea.com . “If he gets in a situation, he knows where the ball needs to go. He’s a hell of a passer. I think he’s underrated when you talk about how well he can throw the football.”
Mathieu, one of the most skilled cornerbacks in the league, said that Gabbert gives San Francisco a “better option” than Kaepernick did. He also admitted Kap was too easy to read, which is why Mathieu and the Cardinals were able to pick him off four times in their last meeting.
Mathieu, who was responsible for two of the interceptions, shed more light on Kap’s habits while he said Gabbert isn’t nearly as predictable.
“We just knew Kaepernick’s tendencies,” Mathieu said. “We knew what he liked to do. We knew which way he wanted to roll out. We knew what side of the field he liked to read to.”
“You don’t pick up those same things with Gabbert. He’s better in the pocket. He has a better feel for coverages. It seems like he can get to the line and see a coverage and then go to a different play. Or, see a coverage and not throw the ball. You can see Gabbert’s maturity and the different things he does well that Kaepernick doesn’t do well.”
It’s interesting how the tables have turned for two of the 49ers quarterbacks. It was just three seasons ago that Kaepernick led his team to play in the 2013 Super Bowl, while has Gabbert completed a disastrous 1-9 2012 season as the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With Kaepernick now on IR and practically out the door in San Francisco, Gabbert – as long as he performs decently through the rest of this season – could remain the teams starter next year.
As for this Sunday’s matchup, we’ll see if Gabbert can outplay Mathieu and the Cardinals eighth-ranked pass defense more efficiently than Kap did.