Around the NFL

Jim Tomsula: Blaine Gabbert a key piece for 49ers

Coaches come and go in San Francisco, but the adulation for beleaguered backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert remains just as strong.

On the heels of Gabbert's nightmarish 49ers preseason debut last August, then-coach Jim Harbaugh announced that he was "very pleased" with the former Jaguars first-round pick's progress.

New coach Jim Tomsula was even more effusive on Thursday.

"I'm a believer in Blaine Gabbert. I am, just point blank," Tomsula said, via the San Jose Mercury News. "We're building a team, in terms of the on-the-field play and the team -- Blaine Gabbert, that's a beautiful piece."

Gabbert completed just 46.8 percent of his preseason passes last summer for a meager passer rating of 54.0, not far off the career marks of 53.2 and 66.8 that spelled the premature end to his Jacksonville career.

Since the end of the 2014 season, Tomsula has watched the 49ers' top three coaches, a trio of team captains, 21 Pro Bowl selections and over 1,000 combined NFL starts walk out the door.

Maybe he's right about Gabbert as a key building block on his revamped roster.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down what Geno Smith's injury means for the Jets and recaps the first Hard Knocks episode in Houston.

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