Chip Kelly Reiterates Blaine Gabbert is 49ers Starting QB, Colin Kaepernick No. 2


Chip Kelly made it abundantly clear why his quarterback depth chart has Blaine Gabbert ahead of Colin Kaepernick going into Week 4 of the regular season.

The San Francisco 49ers head coach’s Wednesday press conference shed more light on where things stand with both passers. Kelly explained why Gabbert is the right fit for his offense heading into Sunday’s home matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

“He’s running our offense well,” Kelly said.

The key to the 49ers coach is looking who listically at the offensive execution and not solely at one player.

“I think our offense itself, in a lot of times, if we’re not having success on offense it’s all blamed on Blaine,” Kelly said. “But I think we need to run the ball better. It’s not Blaine’s fault we’re not running the ball better.

“If we’ve got a power play called, the quarterback’s job is to hand the ball off. So I don’t know how that’s Blaine’s fault in those situations.”

The 49ers are 1-2 and rank 30th in passing yards (175.3 per game), 11th in rushing yards (116.7 per game) and 14th in points per game (24.3). After facing two consecutive defenses (Carolina and Seatle) who rank third and first in total defense, respectively, Gabbert and San Francisco’s offense catches a break against Dallas’ 22nd-ranked defensive unit.

Kelly said he understands “the nature of the beast.” When you’re coming off consecutive losses, quarterback questions tend to come out at your weekly media briefings.

“If you’re a quarterback, you’re going to get your fair share (of blame),” Kelly said of Gabbert. “I think he’s done a good job of protecting the football.”

Gabbert has been sacked twice in three games. Although he’s thrown three interceptions in the past two weeks, Kelly pointed to a receiver dropping a pass in Seattle which led to one of those turnovers.

“There’s certain things you have to look at in terms of how everybody contributes to whether we’re having success on the offensive side of the ball or if we’re not having success on the offensive side of the ball,” Kelly said. “It’s not all just on one guy. If it was, it’d be an easy fix.

“It’s not on one guy and that’s why we feel real confident with him moving forward.”

When the press conference included questions on Colin Kaepernick, Kelly reaffirmed why Kaepernick is the team’s backup signal-caller.

The coach has maintained that Kaepernick has been building his strength and adding weight after a trio of offseason surgeries put him behind in the team’s quarterback competition.

When asked if Kaepernick would get the starting role once he gets back to full strength, Kelly didn’t dive into his crystal ball because one doesn’t exist for the coach.

“Those are hypotheticals, and I don’t really deal with hypotheticals,” Kelly began. “We are where we are, and that’s where he is and he’s the first one to tell you that he’s not where he was in 2013 when he was 225 pounds. That’s the only point I’m trying to make. It’s not any indication of Colin. It’s not a knock on Colin.”

Kaepernick has been medically cleared to play. Kelly, however, wants the No. 2 quarterback to continue working and be ready if his number should be called.

“Right now he’s our second quarterback and Blaine is our first quarterback,” Kelly said. “(Kaepernick is) working as hard as anybody I’ve been around to get back to being that right now.”

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