Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick named co-starters on 49ers depth chart
The San Francisco 49ers stole a page from the Denver Broncos when releasing their first, albeit unofficial, depth chart Tuesday night. As the Broncos did with the Mark Siemian and Mark Sanchez, the 49ers listed the two signal-callers in a battle for the starting slot, Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick, as co-starters.
While reports out of 49ers camp of late have Gabbert leading the way — as has been the case for some time now — Chip Kelly said earlier this week he hasn’t made a decision on which quarterback will start the team’s opening preseason game Sunday against the Houston Texans. The belief is that Kelly will make sure both quarterbacks receive playing time with the starters during the preseason.
Interestingly, the 49ers didn’t limit the co-starters routine on its first unofficial depth chart to Gabbert and Kaepernick. Inside linebackers Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite and Ray-Ray Armstrong are all listed atop the depth chart as well. It isn’t listed to starters, either, as the same practice was used for the backup outside linebacker and cornerback spots.
But the biggest development with the release of the depth chart of course involves what the 49ers opted to do at the quarterback position. Kaepernick was benched last season and replaced by Gabbert, but that was under a different coaching regime. Kaepernick also is coming off multiple offseason surgeries, which hindered his ability to compete.
Still, the assumption when Kelly took the 49ers job was that he of all coaches could resurrect Kaepernick’s career. But it’s clear Kelly had no inclination to simply hand the starting job to the onetime superstar.
The 49ers appear inclined to keep it an open competition between Kaepernick and Gabbert for which quarterback will be under center come Week 1 of the regular season. The co-starter designation on the depth chart only further confirms this notion.