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.

71 responses to “After shutout, Jim Harbaugh backs his backup quarterbacks

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

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

    Non story.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

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

  33. 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!!

  34. 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.

  35. 49ers also cut BJ Daniels, despite him outplaying McCoy last year.

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

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

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