Boldin: Gabbert can be 49ers' quarterback of the future


Boldin: Gabbert can be 49ers' quarterback of the future

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin believes the player who has served as the 49ers’ starting quarterback the past four weeks is fully capable of holding that role for next season and, perhaps, beyond.

Boldin, appearing Thursday on the NFL Network’s "Around the NFL," was asked if Blaine Gabbert can be the 49ers’ quarterback of the future.

“I definitely think so,” Boldin said. “His body of work over the last couple of weeks speaks for itself. You just don’t come in and play the way that he’s been playing by luck. He’s honestly prepared the right way. He’s put himself in a position to be successful and he’s just going out there and having fun.”

The 49ers (4-8) are 2-2 since Gabbert took over for Colin Kaepernick. Gabbert has completed 63 percent of his passes, while the 49ers have experienced an improvement of more than 40 yards passing per game. Gabbert’s passer rating is 89.5.

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Gabbert tied the game last week against the Chicago Bears with a career-long 44 yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

“I wasn’t surprised by the 44-yard touchdown by Blaine,” Boldin said. “Anybody who has been around him, seen him in practice knows he has some wheels on him. I think that’s an underrated thing about Blaine. I don’t think people know how athletic he is. He can spin the ball, he can make every throw on the football field but he’s athletic as well and he can make plays with his legs.”

Then, Gabbert helped the 49ers pull out the 26-20 victory with a 71-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith.

Gabbert’s performances have been a surprise to many who watched him during his three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars after entering the NFL in 2011 as the No. 10 overall pick.

So what did the 49ers know about Gabbert that nobody else knew?

“The type of quarterback that he is,” Boldin said. “We get a chance to see him every day obviously in practice. He can throw the ball with the best of them. But I think Blaine matured from having his struggles in Jacksonville. He’s had time to sit back and really learn.

“I think him coming over here has been a blessing in disguise for not only him but us as well. You’ve seen him the last couple of weeks, he’s been playing lights out. We’re happy to have him here, we enjoy playing with him and everybody on this team has confidence in him.”

Gabbert, 26, is virtually assured of being on the 49ers next season due to his scheduled $2 million salary.

However, Boldin, the 49ers leading receiver, is scheduled to be a free agent. Does Boldin, a 13-year veteran, intend to play next season?

“Oh, definitely,” Boldin said. “That’s without question.”

2020 NFL Draft: How 49ers' John Lynch prepares while working from home


2020 NFL Draft: How 49ers' John Lynch prepares while working from home

The 2020 NFL Draft will be held as scheduled -- albeit remotely -- amid the coronavirus pandemic, keeping 49ers general manager John Lynch plenty busy during California's shelter-in-place order.

In-person visits with prospects at the team's facility or elsewhere are off, but Lynch said he is able to make the most of watching film of potential picks while working from his home office.

“People have a lot bigger problems than we do, I can tell you that,” Lynch told NBC Sports' Peter King for his "Football Morning in America" column. “This year’s a lot different than any year scouts and GMs have had, obviously, with all the challenges. But this time of year, what you really need is time.

"The other day, [coach] Kyle [Shanahan] called and said, ‘This is unbelievable! I’m getting so much done.’ And he’s right. He and I, this time of year, would be watching this tape in our offices, and the difference is our doors aren’t getting knocked on 50 times a day. I’m really getting a lot done.”

Lynch and Shanahan have more prospects to examine than they did a month ago. The 49ers acquired another first-round draft pick -- No. 13 overall -- when they traded dominant defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco, before then, was scheduled to make its first pick with the No. 31 overall selection.

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That additional prep very well could've included watching Louisville's Mekhi Becton, whose Cardinals were on-screen in footage Lynch was watching during a video posted to social media last week showing how he was preparing for the draft at home. The offensive lineman is projected to be a top-10 pick next month, and Lynch simply wouldn't have had much reason to watch him with the 49ers' first pick set for the very end of the first round.

We'll know some of the players whom Lynch, Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers closely watched when the NFL draft begins April 23. The 49ers currently have seven picks: Two in the first round, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Colts' DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day driven by 49ers' Super Bowl loss


Colts' DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day driven by 49ers' Super Bowl loss

Sheldon Day and DeForest Buckner will be teammates on a new team next season, driven by the last loss with their old one.

The defensive linemen joined the Indianapolis Colts this offseason via free agency and trade, respectively, after playing together for the 49ers since midway through the 2017 season. Day and Buckner's final games with San Francisco were in the 49ers' 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, and Day said the pair has additional motivation after not lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy last season.

"It was right there in our hands, and all we had to do was squeeze it and grab it (in Super Bowl LIV), and we let up," Day told reporters on his introductory conference call last week (via Colts.com). "So ultimately we have a chip on our shoulders and we know how to get there, and now we know what to do to overcome that shortcoming that we had."

Buckner sacked eventual Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes 1.5 times in the game, accounting for three of the 49ers' nine QB hits. Day, meanwhile, played a little over half of San Francisco's 76 defensive snaps and picked up a tackle.

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The Indianapolis native played in a career-high 16 games with the 49ers during the 2019 regular season, and Day started each of San Francisco's playoff games. Day credited his growth to playing with Buckner, and he's going to continue picking his brain while they're still teammates.

"DeForest (has) made me detail my game," Day said. "So we would be working on pass-rush moves, bouncing ideas off of each other, just trying to make sure that our game grew together, and we're always giving each other tips. If I see something on film [I'm reaching] out to him, and vice versa. So, man, what a special guy he is."

All the while, the 49ers' Super Bowl LIV won't be far from either player's mind.