San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2015 performance, or lack thereof, has evidently prompted significant changes to the 49ers lineup as head coach Jim Tomsula and offensive coordinator Geep Chryst made the bold decision to start second-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the 49ers’ Nov. 7 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Fortunately, Gabbert rose to the occasion, producing a 17-16 victory for the 49ers and playing all but three offensive plays of the game. He was removed from the field as a measure of standard protocol after experiencing a hard hit to the head in the fourth quarter. Of course Kaepernick filled in as quarterback, though he was loudly booed as he ran on and off the field.
Tomsula’s decision to replace Kaepernick as starting quarterback has spurred much debate regarding the future of the franchise. Gabbert appears to be a few steps behind other competing NFL quarterbacks. Then again, given Kaepernick’s recent performance, Gabbert may be the best decision for the 49ers offense.
After all, Kaepernick has struggled to initiate offensive progress all season. According to ESPN, Kaepernick is currently ranked second in sack leaders with 28 sacks and 166 yards lost during the first half of the 2015 season. Kaepernick maintains only a 6:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and holds a 59.3 percent completion rate. Rumors indicate that Kaepernick is unlikely to return to the 49ers next year.
This season’s struggle has been a team effort, however. The San Francisco 49ers are currently experiencing a tragic season with low scores and a host of losses. Halfway through the regular season, the 49ers hold a 3-6 record and are far from securing a standing in the NFL playoffs.
Since beginning the 2015 regular season with a promising 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers have suffered losses as severe as a 40-point deficit to the Arizona Cardinals. Over the nine-game span, the 49ers have averaged only 14 points a game, with many points accredited to kicker Phil Dawson.
To the surprise of fans, the 49ers recently traded first-round-pick Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos in exchange for two future late-round picks. Although 31-year-old Davis has perhaps passed his prime football age, it hardly seems the time to trade away crucial assets. With their limited amount of success this season, the 49ers need all of the help they can get.
The 49ers currently stand at a crucial crossroads. Regardless of how the coaches approach the situation, the 49ers must pick up their game if they have any intention of competing in Super Bowl 50, which coincidentally will be held at their home stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.