Gabbert strengthens his grip on the backup job in San Francisco


Earlier this year, noted quarterback whisperer Jim Harbaugh took on perhaps his biggest reclamation project yet when the 49ers traded for a failed top-10 pick who had fallen far out of favor in Jacksonville.

Blaine Gabbert, former Jaguar, arrived in San Francisco in March.  Via Matt Maiocco of, Gabbert has emerged through offseason workouts as the primary backup to starter Colin Kaepernick.

“I just came in here and tried to put my best foot forward every day and really enjoy the process and get better on a consistent basis,” Gabbert said, via Maiocco. “That’s what you look for in the spring — just consistent improvement and getting comfortable in the offense and with the new surroundings and the new guys you’re working with.”

Part of getting comfortable includes asking questions.  The team likes the questions he’s asking.”[I’m] excited about Blaine,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said this week to Harbaugh while Roman wore a microphone for the team’s website.  “He asks all the right questions.”

He may end up having all the right answers, if the 49ers ever need to use him.  Drafted nearly a full round before Kaepernick, Gabbert was deemed to have far more potential than the man he now sits behind on the depth chart.

Who knows that the future will hold?  If Harbaugh can do with Gabbert what Harbaugh has done with others, Gabbert could become what everyone expected him to be in 2011.

And if, say, Kaepernick gets injured and Gabbert comes in and plays extremely well and Harbaugh decides to stick with the guy with the hot hand and Gabbert takes the team deep into January, maybe Kaepernick will get the Alex Smith treatment.

54 responses to “Gabbert strengthens his grip on the backup job in San Francisco

  1. Well I’m excited for Gabbert and hope he can develop and take his game to the next level, but this draft position talk is nonsense. I had Kaepernick graded as a Top 10 pick and Gabbert as a 3rd Rounder. Just because the Jags thought Gabbert was worth it doesn’t mean he should have been considered that high profile of a prospect.

    We have seen time and time again situations where some team is overly high on a QB, and we should all be careful to ascribe exactly what that means if one goofball GM is saying something different than what the scouts with better track records think.

    And Harbaugh is a noted quarterback whisperer?!?! I’m going to FedEx my response in on that one and stick to my personal feelings and keep them a secret.

  2. Gabbert beat Kaepernick soundly the only time they met in college, Blaine threw for 414 yards, 3 Td, 0 Int, Kaepernick 146 yards, 1 Td, 1 Int. Was Gabbert’s first year as a starter and Kaepernick’s third.

  3. @thescraggelyexpert – Bob McGinn (MJ-S)polled 24 head scouts and G.M.s prior to the 2011 draft Gabbert was the consensus top QB prospect among them. He got 16 top place votes, Newton got 8, and Kaepernick got ZERO.

    I guess you missed McGinn’s call that year.

  4. He’s a good talent but should never have been drafted in the first round. He wasn’t close to being ready for the nfl and he showed it in Jacksonville.

  5. @thegreatgabbert

    I don’t care what THOSE people think since they likely don’t qualify as a scout having a good track record in my book. Do they have a certificate of endorsement that says I vouch for those people? Then it doesn’t apply to my process of grading draft prospects.

    And I feel bad for taking the same stance as the FedEx CEO, kinda dirty in a way so I apologize for that. So for all you wannabe future CIA codebreakers, here’s my edited response in anagram form:

    )$+ =*-@ ^$# #$ &@ (>*~~?%^ ~?<<?%^ \@, [=*# * `$~@!

  6. That’s insane… Kaepernick will NOT be going the way of Alex Smith. First off, it’s GABBERT, enough said. Second, Kaepernick’s new contract will be a deal breaker for every trade partner, and I don’t see him getting cut for any reason for at least 2 years.

  7. Good luck to Mr. Gabbert, who was graded by the same people who had Bortles and Manziel as top 5 picks this year.

    Neither are worthy their 1st rd position, in my opinion. We’ll see.

  8. Harbaugh said earlier this spring that the reason they passed on Gabbert in 2011 was that they had made a promise to Alex Smith that they wouldn’t use their first round pick on a quarterback. To give him a fighting chance to win the starting job. Jim tried to recruit Gabbert to Stanford ahead of Luck in 2008. Blaine missed his entire senior high school season with injury, walked into the Army All America camp cold, and beat out Luck for the starting job that year.

  9. if harbaugh does not get a new contract.guess who he is taking with him after coaching the second string up to first string potential..

  10. Gabeert had exactly ZERO development and structure in JAX. Now he goes to quarterback U – where improving daily, winning and development are the order of the day.

    With guys like this its kind of like handicapping horses. He failed as the odds on favorite so give him some time off, change up his training, change his feed and his surroundings and he just might perk up.

    When you consider the current NFL backup QB landscape, this move has the look of more Baalke brilliance.

    If you look at the NFC West and the drafts and free agent moves vs key losses, the Niners are light years ahead of their fellows.

    Even the most cynical fan can see they’re beyond loaded with talent and players from the 2013 draft and the ’14 draft chomping at the bit for playing time.

    Look out!

  11. Too bad that he couldn’t “strengthen his grip” on the STARTING job in Jacksonville…really?

  12. Looks as though the Jags and the Browns are the 49ers farm system for a backup qb job..

    Don’t worry either Bortles or Manziel will graduate from their amateur team and land a backup roll for the 49ers, where they will actually be taught the nuances of the game by one of the best qb developers in this league.. and then traded to another NFL team for a couple second rounders or a Alex Smith

  13. As a Seahawks fan this is great news. Many people in the NFL say Gabbert is scared when he gets on the field. Intimidated by defensive lines and other players on the field. Can’t wait if he gets the nod when or if Kaperpick goes down. #gohawks anyone see the new rings? #returntrolled

  14. spyder9669 says: Jun 21, 2014 2:29 PM

    You had Kaepernick and Gabbert graded?? Who are you again???

    He’s a Lion’s fan HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

  15. Everybody saw him in Jacksonville and he looked awful, all the time. Cant believe he’ll be backup in San Fran. Either harbaug is a genius or everybody who saw him needs their eyes checked. And I mean checked big time!

  16. I see people dogging Gabbert without considering what a dung heap that Jags franchise was at the time. They lacked direction as a whole and their franchise’s structure was in flux. I see that they’ve been working on that and needed to be rid of BG as a PR move. If you’re rebuilding it’s hard to keep that former 1st rounder around. I’d be excited if I were a Jags fan right now. Honestly. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for their inaugural season after the new direction. As for BG in SF…..I’m willing to give the kid some time to work with our staff and Harbs and see what he can do. Too much is expected of a lot of these guys straight out of college.

  17. Niners fans will soon find out: Blaine’s light stays on for practice and preseason, then turns off during the regular season.

  18. The dude is the BEST non game player in the NFL, he asks the right questions, throws laser passes and moves well in the pocket……against his own team. It’s the other 31 teams he sucks against.

  19. best case scenario for san fran is for kap to get hurt and gabbert to come in and lead that team, all they need is a qb who does not make mistakes and let the defense and run game do all the work, just like seattle. kap tries too hard to make big plays, comes up short in big moments and at least gabbert can go through more than 1 read before he freaks out and scrambles.

  20. scmems07 says best case scenario for san fran is for kap to get hurt and gabbert to come in and lead that team, all they need is a qb who does not make mistakes and let the defense and run game do all the work, just like seattle. kap tries too hard to make big plays, comes up short in big moments and at least gabbert can go through more than 1 read before he freaks out and scrambles.

    Did you ever see Gabbert play for the Jags?..Gabbert doesn’t freak out and scramble, granted…but after one read, HE collapses in a little pile on the field. Honestly, it was the most frustrating thing to watch..Jaguars fans were begging for Henne to come in..

  21. The guy ran a spread offense at Mizzou, got drafted the year of the lockout and had no off-season to prepare. He had three different head coaches and three different OC’s with three different systems in three years with Jax, got hurt with legit injuries, and was there for the demise of MJD and his best receiver, Blackmon, was never available.

    If Gabbert gets a chance to get developed and play with some talent, he’ll be fine. He needs some structure and stability…something he hasn’t had yet in the NFL.

  22. “Gabbert strengthens his grip on the backup job in San Francisco”


    and that’s really saying something considering the tough competition for that spot!

  23. A good athlete on the wrong team/or for the wrong coach – makes everybody prognosticator look silly.

    Alex Smith under Singletary/Nolan looks like garbage.

    Alex Smith under Harbaugh/KC looks better than average.

    Matt Cassel in New England looks like a baller.
    Matt Cassel in KC looks like garbage.

  24. If Kaepernick gets injured, the hopes of the franchise rest with Blaine Gabbert. If that thought doesn’t scare 49er fans, then you are delusional.
    Fact – Gabbert was proven inferior to Chad Henne in Jax.

  25. Everyone is a great scout AFTER the draft.. QB is the absolute hardest position to grade and at any time in league history maybe half the league can say they have that “franchise guy” …

    Gabbert was head and shoulders a top 10 prospect at one point no matter how you grade because the kid has a cannon, he looks right, works hard in the classroom and during practice. He just can’t put it together for a full game.. He had games where he looked life a franchise player for a quarter but then it would fall apart.. There weren’t many who didn’t think Gabbert was going to be Rodgers or Ryan.. Keapernick was scrawny, mouthy and if it wasn’t for his legs and arm he’d be a 3rd-5th rounder that year.. there was good reason Newton and Gabbert were the top guys

    I mean any idiot can have a gut feeling about a guy so I laugh at these arm chair scouts who come in 3 years later pounding their chests

  26. If Harbaugh turns Gab into a solid QB, harbaughs leverage for a record contract reaches epic proportions, and his value in the league goes off the charts.

    Remember what he did with Alex Smith…..?

  27. Gabberts situation in Jacksonville is very similar to Alex Smith’s career post harbaugh in sf…

    If harbaugh can fix Alex he can fix blaine

  28. It all comes down to coaching and the supporting cast. The guy had no help in JAX.

    This was a good pick-up for the ‘Niners.

  29. Funny to read the defense for Gabbert from fans that are not Jags fans. As a rookie he had the best running back in football and a top 10 D. He has horrible on a all time level. His second year a head coach was hired to specially develop Gabbert and the rest of the team was forgotten. Henne should have won the job last year in camp (I was there and watched myself) and Henne was better in camp. Gabbert has been given the job 3 years in a row and was coddled. If he becomes good for San Fran – good for him. If you think the excuses you are making for him have any merit? You are fooling yourself. He is an all time bust with Leaf and Russell. You know why good teams are good? Because they let the best guy play not give the job to guys and coddle them until they are complete failures to everybody. Ask Seattle and their 3rd round pick or San Fran w their 2nd rounder. Gabbert is not any good.

    Jags fan and season ticket holder.

  30. How excited was “thegreatgabbert” when he saw an article Blaine Gabbert yesterday morning?
    Bet he couldn’t log in fast enough

  31. Calling Harbaugh a “quarterback whisperer” isn’t a bad epithet. As a former QB he understands the position far better than most coaches. Alex Smith, for example, is now a very competent QB, but really wasn’t before Harbaugh started fine tuning him. That doesn’t mean he can make any QB a success, but it does mean that if the QB actually has the potential, Harbaugh is probably more likely to get it out of him than most.

  32. Isnt this the same ol’ story of how he impresses when ders no contact?
    We need to see what he does in pre-season before we think he is any good.
    The san fran o-line certainly has d ability to give him enough time as can their receivers create separation.
    If he can lead them deep into the playoffs should kaep. be injured, that wierd contract kaep signed could well see him go the way of alex smith.
    But i thk Harbaugh likes Kap too much to trade him away.

  33. What would it hurt to take a look at Vince Young….. Don’t let this guy retire without bringing him in for a tryout….
    (NFL Rookie of the Year, 2 Pro Bowls, Playoff experience and Mobility). Vince has a career winning record of 31-19…
    He can help a team…even if it’s just to upgrade the quarterback pool…

  34. Not insulting any one, or any team. But in Jacksonville, Gabbert was all pro during camp, Practice, But put him in a game, and get pressured, hit, He lost it, every thing. If if his first read is covered, look out, he panics. The years in Jax he was terrific , then came game time, he was like Dr. Jeckle and Hyde

  35. Steve Young was floundering on the TB Bucs. when Bill Walsh traded for him. Young as a 49er? MVP, pro bowler, Super Bowl winner and H.O.Famer, anything is possible.

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