Blaine Gabbert, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick, has responded to the move.
“It sucks,” Gabbert told CSNBayArea.com. “I don’t like it. I don’t like not playing. I’m very forward about that.”
“But, at the same time, I’m going to work the same way I’ve always worked the three years I’ve been here. Put my best foot forward. Still continue to prepare. I’m not going to slack on the film work just because I’m not playing.”
49ers coach Chip Kelly announced Kaepernick would be the starter for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
“I think I’ve always been confident,” Kaepernick told ESPN about the coaching move. “It’s something that I’m ready to step on that field, I’m ready to play. It’s been about a year since live game action. So, I’m itching to get out there.”
Last season, Kaepernick was benched after he struggled under then-49ers coach Jim Tomsula and after the team’s roster was decimated. At one point in 2015, Kaepernick was one of the least efficient passers in the NFL. Last season, he posted a 59 percent completion percentage, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, and a 78.5 passer rating. But for the 2016 season, Gabbert has performed worse: with a 58 completion percentage, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt, and a 69.6 rating.
“I gave it my best shot,” Gabbert added. “It wasn’t good enough. We didn’t win enough football games. We didn’t score enough points on the offensive side of the ball. That’s the way it goes. It’s a tough situation and coach Kelly had to make a call.”
It has been speculated that one of the reasons the 49ers didn’t start Kaepernick was due to his contract situation. Under his current deal, he’s guaranteed $14.5 million base salary in 2017 if he can’t pass a physical on April 1, 2017.
“I don’t deal with contracts,” coach Kelly said. “It’s got nothing to do with his contract. It’s a football decision. I don’t even know where his contract status is. That’s a good question for him but I’ve never discussed his contract nor will I discuss his contract.”