SANTA CLARA – The 49ers do not expect all of their offensive problems to be solved with the benching of quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the promotion of Colin Kaepernick as the starter.
It’s just that coach Chip Kelly, in explaining his decision, pointed out that the club had few other places to turn on its 53-man roster.
“It’s really one of the only maneuvers we can make based on our depth, where we are and what we’re doing,” Kelly said.
The 49ers are also expected to move rookie guard Joshua Garnett into the starting lineup at right guard in place of Andrew Tiller, who started the first five games of the season. Garnett played a season-high 18 snaps in the 49ers’ 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Thursday.
The 49ers have a dearth of playmakers at wide receiver with veteran wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jeremy Kerley, along with Quinton Patton, Aaron Burbridge, Rod Streater and Keshawn Martin.
“I think we were very analytical and sat down as a staff and watch tape and went over everything,” Kelly said. “We’ve had a couple days to kind of digest everything where we are and I think offensively we need to be better and we need to just make a move. It’s really not, it’s not Blaine’s fault.”
The 49ers’ offense is ranked 31st in the NFL in total yards and passing. Gabbert ranks 30th in the NFL in passer rating (out of 31 qualifying quarterbacks) and last in the league with just 5.93 yards per pass attempt. The 49ers enter Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills on a four-game losing streak.
One of the biggest disappointments for the 49ers’ offense is its inability to get Smith involved in the passing game. Through five games, Smith has just nine catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Smith said he would have supported whatever move the 49ers’ coaching staff made at the quarterback position.
“Not using the word ‘scapegoat’ or anything, (but) it’s easy to point the finger to one person when things aren’t going right and you’re not winning,” Smith said. “That’s on all of us. It doesn’t matter if they make the change to Kap if we’re not out there getting open and making plays or blocking. We have to go out and execute better. That’s our issue.”