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After shutout, Jim Harbaugh backs his backup quarterbacks


In two exhibition games, 49ers backup quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson have led San Francisco to zero points.

But head coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly isn’t inclined to bring in other options at the position.

“We got good quarterbacks,” Harbaugh said after the 49ers’ 34-0 home loss to Denver on Sunday, according to Matt Maiocco of

49ers top reserve quarterback Blaine Gabbert was 8-of-14 for 40 yards against the Broncos, and he was picked once on a long pass down the seam. Overall, Gabbert is 11-of-25 for 60 yards with two interceptions in the preseason. Thompson, the fourth-stringer, has also been picked twice.

Johnson has been the best of the three quarterbacks in exhibition play, completing 8-of-11 passes for 72 yards, but he lost a fumble against Denver.

Any changes the 49ers could make at backup quarterback might not come until teams cut their rosters to 53 players on Saturday, August 30 — two days after San Francisco’s preseason finale at Houston. Last year, the Packers added two reserve passers (Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien) after San Francisco released them in late August.

For now, it’s on the 49ers’ backup quarterbacks to show Harbaugh’s faith is well-founded. The backups figure to see their least action of the preseason next Sunday vs. San Diego, but they will be busy at Houston, with starter Colin Kaepernick a candidate to get their entire night off.

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71 Responses to “After shutout, Jim Harbaugh backs his backup quarterbacks”
  1. gloryfromheaven46 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:15 PM

    No…… They DESPERATELY need Tebow.

  2. cobrala says: Aug 17, 2014 8:18 PM

    I think they have an excellent team with three terrible quarterbacks.

  3. calvinthegreat82 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:23 PM

    Who has it better than we do? EVERYBODY!!!!

  4. slbasegame257 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:25 PM

    Blaine Gabbert looks like the worst 5th string QB in the NFL.

  5. 6250claimer says: Aug 17, 2014 8:29 PM

    Seems that Harbs should be more concerned that his starter has led them to a total of 3 points in 2 games.

  6. otistaylor89 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:30 PM

    Blaine Gabbert..I can’t believe he was drafted, let alone in the 1st round!

  7. myhawks1976 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:34 PM

    Who could possibly have it better than us?

    Well…. Seattle, Arizona, St. Louis, Denver, New England, New Orleans, Indianapolis….

    To name a few. I would include Green Bay, but based on the ownership the Whiners have had over them the last couple playoffs, I will be generous and leave them off the list!

  8. seahawkboymike says: Aug 17, 2014 8:39 PM

    2 words: “Mark Sanchez.”

    Seriously, 34-0 AT HOME?


  9. bubbybrisket says: Aug 17, 2014 8:43 PM

    lol…Todd McShay and Mel Kiper proclaimed Blaine Gabbert as a “can’t miss” prospect coming out of Mizzou.

  10. z561 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:45 PM

    As a Jags fan it’s so refreshing, not to mention HILARIOUS, to see Goobert stink it up in a different uniform. My goodness is he awful…

  11. kylexitron says: Aug 17, 2014 8:47 PM

    54-3 in two games. Preseason games may not mean anything but that kind of lopsided play is a pretty good indicator that the 49ers don’t have much in the way of depth. Don’t get hurt, or you will finish at the bottom of the NFC west.

  12. lurch61 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:52 PM

    I have been a niner fan for over 50 years but this propensity to stick by lousy qb’s (mccoy last year gabbert this year) baffles me. I know Harbaugh is smarter than to believe this is a good option. he needs to just cut the losses, eat the $2M and move on. Big mistake.

  13. cwk22 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:53 PM

    I guess.even his delusional groupie thegreatgabbert can’t defend his dismal performance. He stinks no matter what uniform he is in.

  14. jonnguy2014 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:54 PM

    Not good, still preseason but still not good

  15. curmudgeon13 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:56 PM

    I hope Krapper doesn’t pull a groin…..

  16. howmanyringsyourteamgot says: Aug 17, 2014 8:56 PM

    Seems like Harbaugh is trying to justify Gabbert’s 2M guaranteed salary. The guy has the happiest feet in the pocket since Jim Everett. He stares down his receivers, he overthrows/underthrows all his passes and has shown no signs of improvement since his rookie season. Josh Johnson is clearly better but he was also better than Scott Tolzien in 2012 but still got cut. The Niners would’ve gotten more value drafting rookies with the picks they wasted trading for Gabbert and Jonathan Martin. Hoping Kap stays healthy all year.

  17. larams2016 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:57 PM

    Brett Favre is available. You’re welcome Brett, I know you like to keep your name in the news.

  18. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Aug 17, 2014 8:59 PM

    Nice preseason victory for the Broncos. Houston comes to town on Saturday. Should be another great test.

  19. thirdistheworrd says: Aug 17, 2014 8:59 PM

    McLeod Bethel-Thompson — forget the Redskins, can we have a couple of articles on this guy’s name?

  20. goldbloodedpodcast says: Aug 17, 2014 8:59 PM

    When has a team ever went into a season relying on their backup QB to win the Super Bowl? Let’s get down to brass tacks here, this team lives and dies on the shoulders of Colin Kaepernick.

  21. sisqsage says: Aug 17, 2014 8:59 PM

    Preseason is meaningless.
    Kap and the first stringers on offense have looked good and that is all that matters.
    Harbs and the Niners will have the last laugh.
    Always feel sorry for people who make a big deal about preseason. Kap will kick butt in Week 1 at Dallas.

  22. hawkstradamus says: Aug 17, 2014 9:04 PM

    They spent $1.2 billion on a new stadium and only half the scoreboard works.

  23. kmgpop says: Aug 17, 2014 9:06 PM

    Yet, Josh Freeman’s phone continues to be silent… When he can’t land a QB job ahead of any of these guys, it’s time to take a seat next to JaMarcus.

  24. bucsorbust says: Aug 17, 2014 9:23 PM

    I don’t expect the starters to score a lot, but let’s compare them against the whopping 3 points total by Colin Kapernick and the starting offense. Pathetic.

  25. bucsorbust says: Aug 17, 2014 9:25 PM

    Niners brand new home, Levi’s Stadium, already looks like the Miami Marlins’ home field…new, expensive, and host to a losing team. Oh well, maybe the Raiders will share it.

  26. bucsorbust says: Aug 17, 2014 9:27 PM

    Maybe Brandon Weeden is available.

  27. pftisfulloftrolls says: Aug 17, 2014 9:27 PM

    bubbybrisket says: Aug 17, 2014 8:43 PM

    lol…Todd McShay and Mel Kiper proclaimed Blaine Gabbert as a “can’t miss” prospect coming out of Mizzou
    My neighbor knows better than Mel Kiper and he’s a postman.

    – Mel Kiper

  28. 12thman84 says: Aug 17, 2014 9:43 PM

    Preseason is meaningless.
    Kap and the first stringers on offense have looked good and that is all that matters.

    Ya, so how many points has the Santa Clara offense scored so far?…..3 points…and that is looking good??

    Go Hawks

  29. iloveagoodnap says: Aug 17, 2014 9:45 PM

    So if their starting qb gets hurt, then their in trouble? You mean like nearly every other team in the NFL?

    Non story.

  30. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 17, 2014 9:47 PM

    Harbaugh’s ego is so large that he thinks he can make a NFL QB out of Gabbert. Good luck with that.

  31. lightofkolob says: Aug 17, 2014 9:51 PM

    I’m a diehard 9ers fan that wants Timmy T

  32. pftisfulloftrolls says: Aug 17, 2014 9:52 PM

    pftisfulloftrolls says: Aug 17, 2014 9:27 PM

    bubbybrisket says: Aug 17, 2014 8:43 PM

    lol…Todd McShay and Mel Kiper proclaimed Blaine Gabbert as a “can’t miss” prospect coming out of Mizzou
    My neighbor knows better than Mel Kiper and he’s a postman.

    – Mel Kiper
    Bill Tobin,oops.

  33. clssylssy says: Aug 17, 2014 9:55 PM

    Preseason is like watching JV football where the only crazies are parents who take things entirely too seriously as do the bandwagoner fans. Anyone who has followed football longer than 5 minutes know that the 9ers (like many other successful teams) don’t believe in showing their cards in preseason; they have nothing to prove and use the time as a training expercise. It’s amazing how effective losses in the preseason (that don’t count even) psychs many teams into a false sense of security on opening day. It is what it is and no big deal!

  34. joey49er says: Aug 17, 2014 9:59 PM

    Are u kidding me?? this was laughable and the coaching was laughable….we don’t have no qb for back ups… so glad for pre season it really opens ur eyes on some players……jags great job for dumping gabbert now we got to pic up his salary even if he don’t make the team… ive watched a lot of pre season football games over the yrs but these backups look like total bumms…
    props to quenton dial and wr ellington….the only bright spots on the team all and ackers

  35. cags777 says: Aug 17, 2014 10:01 PM

    Serious question: How much do you think they would give up to acquire Christian Ponder?

  36. purpleguy says: Aug 17, 2014 10:04 PM

    The Vikings will probably trade Ponder to the 49ers for a case of Levis.

  37. bert1913 says: Aug 17, 2014 10:06 PM

    the Santa Clara 49er players are starting to tune out harbaugh

  38. packerbackernj says: Aug 17, 2014 10:07 PM

    But Harbaugh is a QB guru! Or i’ve been told countless times!

  39. larrydavidstern says: Aug 17, 2014 10:08 PM

    They should sign Tebow. At least he could run around and make things happen. Gabbert is Awful!

  40. perkjctc says: Aug 17, 2014 10:09 PM

    If it isn’t the QB’s fault then it’s the other guys they’re playing with. It speaks to a lack of depth no matter what way you cut it.

  41. jackmayhoffer says: Aug 17, 2014 10:11 PM

    Anybody who watched this team when they won 10+ games 20 years in a row may remember many 0-4 preseason games and alway under 500. Because they don’t matter, many starter not suited up, they will win 10 + this year.

  42. upyoursanus says: Aug 17, 2014 10:21 PM

    Its the preseason people!!!!! Do they need a consistent backup? Yes and so does half the teams in the league.

  43. 12thman84 says: Aug 17, 2014 10:26 PM

    Anybody who watched this team when they won 10+ games 20 years in a row
    Joe, exactly how long ago was that, and how many of the current players are still on the team?

    Santa Clara fans….their funny.

    Go Hawks!

  44. carp0056 says: Aug 17, 2014 10:33 PM

    Fans that went to a preseason game paid full price for their ticket also. What a joke

  45. conormacleod says: Aug 17, 2014 10:36 PM

    Ponder for a 4th rounder.

  46. doe22us says: Aug 17, 2014 10:46 PM

    Was the greatgabbert really Blaine Gabbert??? hmm

  47. tomebs says: Aug 17, 2014 10:47 PM

    I didn’t see the game but agree with one of the comments above not to make too much of this game. these two teams meet in the regular season. wouldn’t surprise me at all if the 49’ers kept things very conservative.

  48. oreo51 says: Aug 17, 2014 10:55 PM

    If their first two games are any indication, the Niners are in big trouble. Two years ago they beat the Broncos in preseason. Last year they lost in a close one. This year … my that was bad.

  49. napalm101 says: Aug 17, 2014 10:56 PM

    You can have BJ Daniels back…Can throw Pryor in for free…

  50. voiceofreasonsays says: Aug 17, 2014 11:06 PM

    The FortyWhiners have a freebie week 1 vs Dallas. After that, it’s all freed all from there.

  51. ctiggs says: Aug 17, 2014 11:09 PM

    We are not even showing anything only pedhawk fans are excited about the preseason.

  52. realitycheckbaby says: Aug 17, 2014 11:10 PM

    Has Niner window closed?

    Will Harbaugh be gone?

    Better hope this is an anomoly.

  53. hawktawker says: Aug 17, 2014 11:14 PM

    Rough start Santa Clara!! Hey, who scored the first touchdown ever for the Santa Clara 49ers??
    Answer: We don’t know yet!!!

  54. cribbage12 says: Aug 17, 2014 11:16 PM

    Niner fans are secretly worrying but publicly justifying an ugly preseason loss. Kaepernick is vastly overrated and has been found out by the league. Niners could have kept him in another series or two but were concerned his fragile ego would’ve been further shattered with zero points scored in the first 2 preseason games. Get ready for the realization to sink in. This team has crested and is on its way downhill.

  55. bornahawker says: Aug 17, 2014 11:53 PM

    Denver is playing regular season ball and the rest are trying not to get injured. Love to see manning take a neck shot while vying for the preseason trophy!
    Go Hawks!

  56. radrntn says: Aug 18, 2014 12:42 AM

    still pre-season and does not mean anything, yet you would like to see a little something…….still think niners are top 4, but in a couple of weeks they need to get their “o” clicking

  57. thebirdofprey2 says: Aug 18, 2014 12:54 AM

    Sure pre-season doesn’t predict regular season success and looking back at the 0-16 Lions is a great example.

    Fans making excuses for their teams horrible play and saying it means nothing at all are in for a rude awaking. Sure its nothing if your 3rd or 4th string player throws a pick int and you lose by a TD. When you get absolutely dominated at the line of scrimmage both sides of the ball for 2 games, can’t generate any pass rush letting an average secondary get exposed while having back up QB’s that shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves football players. You would have to be a complete idiot not to be concerned.

  58. pittsburghdamned says: Aug 18, 2014 1:43 AM

    Not enough people commenting here on the fact that Kaepernick looked equally bad. That should be the concern. We all knew Gabbert was horrible.

  59. number1hawkfan says: Aug 18, 2014 2:22 AM

    Hahaha!!! The niners look terrible. Don’t give me this preseason excuse either. They were at home against Denver. Neither team prepared but only one team showed up. Can’t wait to watch them spiral this year. It’s happening and you niner fans gotta know it’s coming. Your QB is a child that never takes responsibility and your coach is well, a child that thinks he’s a genius.

  60. aldavis4president says: Aug 18, 2014 2:23 AM

    OK, but what about the starting qb not putting up any points either? 6-10 that window is closed and long gone Santa Clara.

  61. jeffesky says: Aug 18, 2014 2:42 AM

    I think the Niners are going to have to play Johnson as much as possible. Thompson and Gabbert just need to go. Who cares about the money on Gabbert. Call it a mistake ,move on and use that roster spot for a guy who can help the team. JJ looks like he can be made serviceable in this offense but the other 2 will be out of the NFL if not this year then next. GO HAWKS!!

  62. kamthechancellor says: Aug 18, 2014 3:35 AM

    First qb Seattle cuts Baalke and Harbaugh will descend on like piranha.

  63. vipod4ever says: Aug 18, 2014 6:21 AM

    Mark Sanchez is available! Better option than the other two backups and perhaps even CK.

  64. axespray says: Aug 18, 2014 10:20 AM

    PS – This team cut Scott Tolzien for Colt McCoy, Blaine Gabbert, and Josh Johnson?

    and Jim is considered a QB Guru?

  65. ngbradley says: Aug 18, 2014 2:54 PM

    I’m really astounded by the number of football fans who think the preseason matters. multiple studies have confirmed that there is no correlation between preseason performance and regular season performance.

    Teams aren’t trying to win in preseason, and aren’t even necessarily trying to score. They are evaluating talent — trying out problem areas, challenging bubble guys, etc.

    Niner backup QBs were godawful, however, and it concerns me.

    I’d be open to picking up Christian Ponder if possible.

  66. ngbradley says: Aug 18, 2014 3:08 PM

    49ers also cut BJ Daniels, despite him outplaying McCoy last year.

    Watching on TV doesn’t tell you the whole story though.

  67. jmethane says: Aug 18, 2014 4:03 PM

    btw, if the Seahawks cut BJ which they will have to unfortunately, there are many in line to pick him up before the Niners will get the chance.

    I’m sure we will try to trade him for peanuts first. Keeping the Niners with Kap and Clown as their qb’s for the year should be a priority.

    Kap goes down and it’s all over.

  68. jmethane says: Aug 18, 2014 4:06 PM

    Why was Peyton running up the middle trying to be Russell or Kap?

    He was very slow and looked like he was in slow-motion then got hit hard in the neck from behind. He can pass well but he didn’t come close to success on that play.

    The smile was so long and big afterwards that it said “OW” or “MAN THAT WAS DUMB” to me.

  69. simonator917 says: Aug 18, 2014 10:58 PM

    How can people get so bent out of shape over an exhibition game? The only news of consequence out of this game is that someone tragically died of a heart attack. Other than that the game is as meaningless as watching a practice. As everyone should already know, the year the Lions went 0-and-16 they were 4-and-0 in the preseason. I’d say take the preseason with a grain of salt but it would be a waste of a perfectly good grain of salt.

    As much as I hate the 49ers I grudgingly respect their organization and I expect they’ll roll right over the Cowboys come week one. That’s the beauty of having Sunday Ticket; I won’t have to watch them beat up on the hapless Cowboys, no matter what their exhibition record is.

  70. yeahitsme72 says: Aug 19, 2014 2:09 AM

    Sadly the best QB on the team happens to be the coach, and I don’t mean in his prime, I mean Harbaugh today is the best QB on the roster.

  71. ceehawkfan says: Aug 19, 2014 11:07 PM

    We’re keeping Pryor SAN FRAN, so move along….

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