The quarterback controversy, if you could call it that now, in San Francisco finally saw Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick on the same playing field Friday night against the Packers. Unfortunately for Chip Kelly and Co., they'll be hard-pressed to find something positive to take from either signal-caller's showing in the Niners' 21-10 loss.
Gabbert led the Niners to one three-and-out and one touchdown drive in one quarter of play. Gabbert ran for 15 yards on designed runs and broken plays and tossed a backward touchdown pass to wide receiver Quinton Patton, which technically counted as a run. The current starter finished 2 for 3 for a mediocre 14 passing yards in less than four minutes of work.
Kaepernick entered the game at the start of the second quarter, immediately dropping back to toss a 2-yard out to Vance McDonald. Kap's only other completion of the night came two plays later on a 12-yard first-down toss to DeAndrew White. That was the highlight of Kap's evening.
On his remaining four attempts, Kaepernick, who has been struggling with arm soreness, showed it. He had two passes batted down at the line and saw his longest attempt to McDonald nearly wobble into the hands of a Packers defender five yards short of his target.
Kaepernick couldn't even capitalize on what used to be his competitive advantage: his running ability.
While Gabbert scampered up the field with ease, Kaepernick, when hurried, looked hesitant to initiate contact, running laterally toward the sidelines and safer pastures. (There's something symbolic in there.) This was no more evident than on a 10-yard Kaepernick run on third-and-13 during which the quarterback chose to run away from the first-down marker only to be easily taken down by speedier Packers backs. He was also easily tackled in the backfield on a blown QB option.
Kap did not return in the third quarter, finishing with 14 passing yards, like Gabbert, and 18 rushing yards on four attempts.
After the game, Kelly said he was disappointed with the 49ers' offense as a whole, adding that there's still no timeline to name a starting quarterback in San Francisco.
"We'll sit down as a staff. We've got to watch the film. We're never going to make any decisions just walking off the field," Kelly said of his quarterback competition. "We'll sit down as a staff and kind of see where we are -- the overall state. First and foremost, we've got to be better offensively. We played better in the Houston and Denver game. We didn't play very well on offense at all at any position. So we've got to clean that up."
Kaepernick wasn't expected to steal the starting position away from Gabbert on Friday night, but with Gabbert struggling to cement his case, Kap's proverbial egg-laying is made all the more disappointing.
It says a lot about the quarterback situation by the Bay that both Niners quarterbacks were outperformed in the third preseason game by a third-string Packers quarterback named Joe Callahan.