After a poor start to the season with Blaine Gabbert under center, Chip Kelly has decided to shake things up. On Tuesday he announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the starting quarterback for week 6.
This will surely be good news for 49ers fans, who have had to suffer through some truly terrible QB play with Gabbert. Gabbert ranks second to last in passer rating and dead last in yards per attempt. Kaepernick’s protests may cause some controversy, but with stats as bad as Gabberts, Kelly doesn’t have any other choice.
Kaepernick had surgery during the offseason and missed most of training camp, which is why he’s spent the beginning of the season on the bench. But even without much time to gel with the team, he should be an improvement. Comparing the stats of both QBs paints a pretty clear picture.
Passing 20+ yards downfield since 2011:
Blaine Gabbert – 25% comp pct, 6 TD, 13 Int
Colin Kaepernick – 38% comp pct, 16 TD, 11 Int
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 11, 2016
Even if you look at just 2015, Kaepernick’s worst season ever, he beats Gabbert in all categories.
Kaepernick (2015): 59 completion %, 6.6 yards/at., 78.5 rating
Gabbert (2016): 58.0 completion %, 5.9 yards/att., 69.6 rating
Kelly also loves to run the read option offense, and Kaepernick is much better suited for such schemes than Gabbert was. His running ability should take pressure off the running backs and force hesitation from opposing linebackers, giving the entire offense more room to breathe and make big plays. Kaepernick isn’t perfect, and there’s a reason he lost his starting job, but he seems a much better option than Gabbert and if there’s any coach that can bring the most out of a running quarterback, it’s Chip Kelly.