San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbbert is competing with Kory Faulkner, Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson for the No.2 quarterback position behind starter Colin Kaepernick for the 2014 season, and so far Gabbert hasn’t done anything to disappoint head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Gabbert is expected to be the No.2 GB this season, as he’s got the best pedigree of the backups and he’s costing the Niners a lot of money. Harbaugh likes what he’s seeing from Gabbert in this week’s minicamp.
“Very impressed with Blaine mentally, physically – all attributes that you’d like to see in a quarterback,” Harbaugh said about Gabbert. “He’s been very good, very solid. (He’s) picked up everything very quickly. It’s going well. Everything is progressing well. I think you’ll watch it when you have a chance to see it today and look at it for yourself. In my eye, it looks very good.”
Harbaugh is could possibly fashion Gabbert into another Alex Smith type of quarterback, because that’s the style that fits him the best. He’s very accurate on the short throws, and the ones where timing is involved. He gets the ball out quickly on his shot throws, and does very well in completing passes from 5-20 yards.
Where Gabbert might not do as well is trying to throw the deeper pass to receivers. It’s not that he lacks arm strength to make those types of throws. It seems more like a confidence issue where he doesn’t attempt to make the longer throws due to the worry of getting intercepted or throwing an incomplete pass that hurts the team.
The 49ers would do well if Harbaugh can convert Gabbert into a backup quarterback capable of completing 70% of his throws like he did with Alex Smith. If Harbaugh can do that with Gabbert, then the 49ers might have a backup better than Kaepernick, because he seems incapable of completing even 60% of his throws.