49ers announce Gabbert to start vs Seahawks after bye


49ers announce Gabbert to start vs Seahawks after bye

SANTA CLARA – One game as the 49ers’ starter has turned into at least two games for quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Coach Jim Tomsula on Monday spoke with Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick to inform them that Gabbert would remain as the 49ers’ starter after the bye week when the team faces the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 22.

The decision was made one day after the 49ers were 17-16 winners over the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers (3-6) snapped a streak of nine consecutive quarters without a touchdown with two Gabbert scoring passes to tight end Garrett Celek in the first half.

Tomsula declined to name the starter during his weekly press conference on Monday morning because he said he had yet to address the topic with Gabbert and Kaepernick.

Gabbert, 26, making his first NFL start in more than two years, completed 15 of 25 passes for 185 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

[RELATED: Teammates applaud Gabbert's toughness]

One of Gabbert’s interceptions was a well-thrown pass that ricocheted off the chest of receiver Jerome Simpson deep down the field and was picked off by Falcons defensive back Phillip Adams on the deflection.

“(Gabbert) knew where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do,” Tomsula said on Monday.

Tomsula said there were two passes that Gabbert wanted back. One of his ill-advised throws was a fourth-quarter interception. The other was an incomplete pass.

“But, other than that, putting the ball where it needed to go, finding where it needed to go on the field, the distribution of the ball was good,” Tomsula said.

Kaepernick, 28, started the first eight games of the season for the 49ers. Kaepernick completed 59 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating on the season is 78.5.

[RELATED: Mailbag: The future of Kaepernick, Baalke]

The decision to remain with Gabbert as the starter appears to be a signal that Kaepernick faces unlikely odds to remain with the 49ers past the current season. Kaepernick signed a $115 million contract extension through the 2020 season in June 2014.

Kaepernick is scheduled to make $14.3 million next season in salary and bonuses. The 49ers would save $9.368 million on the salary cap next season if Kaepernick is traded or released.

49ers' Kendrick Bourne, NFL stars not fans of league's escrow proposal

49ers' Kendrick Bourne, NFL stars not fans of league's escrow proposal

With each passing day, the concerns over the coronavirus grow.

For the sports world, that means uncertainty. Will the games be played as scheduled? Will there be fans in the stands? What will revenue look like?

On Tuesday, the NFL reportedly made a financial proposal to the Players Association, and it didn't sit well with the latter group.

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported, citing sources, that the NFLPA told its board of representatives that the league is proposing to put 35 percent of players' 2020 salary into an escrow account.

Pelissero relayed a response from an NFLPA executive Don Davis.

As you can imagine, the idea of not getting their full salaries didn't sit well with the players, including 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Raiders right tackle Trent Brown weighed in.

Several other NFL stars, including newly minted $503 million-man Patrick Mahomes, shared the same reaction.

The NFL reportedly wants to cut the preseason from four games to two games, and the NFLPA later voted that no preseason games be played.

It's clear the two sides have a lot to work out before training camps open later this month.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' George Kittle voted top NFL tight end over Chiefs' Travis Kelce

49ers' George Kittle voted top NFL tight end over Chiefs' Travis Kelce

Who's the best tight end in the NFL?

While many feel strongly on the subject, there really are only two acceptable answers. You can bicker back and forth as to who is superior between 49ers tight end George Kittle and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, but they're clearly in a tier unto themselves.

If you're partial to the intricacies of route-running, Kelce might be your choice. If you like a bruiser who contributes in all aspects of the offense, Kittle surely is your guy.

If there is a separation between the two, it's by hairs. Don't take my word for it. More than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players recently voted on the top 10 players at 11 different positions for the upcoming 2020 season, and the top two tight ends were separated by the slimmest margin of any position group.

To the delight of 49ers fans, and the ire of those of the Chiefs, Kittle came out on top. Just barely.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

After the first round of votes, ESPN's Jeremey Fowler reported Kittle and Kelce sat at a dead-even split. Additional voting and follow-up calls were required, which ultimately tilted the result in Kittle's favor.

Just like Kelce, Kittle was ranked as high as No. 1 at the position, but no lower than No. 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski was the only other player to receive a first-place vote, but last I checked it's 2020 and not 2015.

"Consecutive 1,000-yard seasons make Kittle a top contender, but his blocking and intensity helped earn him nearly half the first-place votes," Fowler wrote. "Where Kittle beats everyone is at the line of scrimmage and with the ball in his hands, as he forced a league-high 20 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus."

The voters were full of compliments for Kelce, but Kittle's mentality, leadership and scheme flexibility proved to be the tie-breakers.

"Be on the field, and see how he elevates the play of everyone in the offense. It's tangible," one NFC coordinator said. "He lifts everyone up."

"The passion on tape is unmatched," an AFC executive explained. "He's got that dog in him. More competitive than Kelce."

"Unreal passion, energy, toughness, blocking," said another executive.

[RELATED: Mahomes contract could put pressure on 49ers signing Kittle]

Kittle might have won the vote, but last time he and Kelce were on the same field, the Chiefs tight end got the better of him, both in the box score and in the Lombardi Trophy department. Of course, if Kittle isn't called for that questionable-at-best offensive pass interference penalty, it might be a completely different story.

In any case, there's no shame in Kelce being ranked below Kittle, nor would there be if it was the other way around. They're both extremely special players, and it's not a coincidence that their teams arguably are the two best in the NFL.