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Chip Kelly: Niners can build on Colin Kaepernick's start

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San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly is not going back to Blaine Gabbert, and seems to think that Colin Kaepernick's first start on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills was a foundation for the future.

"I think there are some things he did on Sunday that you can build upon. You know, for his first extended playing time since last year," Kelly told reporters Monday. "Thought there were some real positives there that we can continue to try to build with him and get him going and gives us the best chance in the next couple days."

He added: "I see a different Colin out there than I did seven weeks ago, when we were in camp trying to make a final decision on where we were going to be from a quarterback standpoint. So I see a little bit of difference. I think he's up closer to 220 now -- not that the weight is a number that has to be a certain thing that he has to get to. But I think he's gotten stronger and he's gotten a little bit faster since we last had this conversation."

For those still interested in rolling their eyes about the timing of Kaepernick's contract and his first start Sunday, go ahead and take a minute before we move on.

The move makes the most sense for Kelly at the moment. There was no sense in going back to Kaepernick if he wasn't at least planning on giving him as thorough an opportunity as Gabbert got at the beginning of the season. Gabbert averaged a 58 percent completion rate, a 69.6 quarterback rating and a touchdown pass per game over his first five starts for the 49ers.

Kaepernick went 13 of 29 for 187 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Bills. His completion percentage was 44.83 and his passer rating was 77.8.

Kaepernick obviously represents the 49ers' best chance to finish this season with some semblance of a franchise quarterback even if the relationship between QB and team seems lukewarm at best. Unless the plan was to allow Kelly one year of soft tanking in order to get the quarterback of his choice in the draft, the one-time Super Bowl contending QB deserves a chance to play out the string -- or at least the next few weeks.

That's one person's version of common sense. However, questions about another first-round pick on the roster, Christian Ponder, seem to be mounting during Kelly's daily media briefings. Who knows what might happen next?

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