SANTA CLARA – Coach Chip Kelly has maintained that Colin Kaepernick is strong enough to suit up as the 49ers’ backup quarterback, but not to be the starter.
On Tuesday, Kaepernick said he is ready to go.
“I’m always ready to play,” Kaepernick said. “I’m always ready to step on that field and put it on the line for my team.”
Blaine Gabbert remains as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. Kelly explained on Monday that Kaepernick is not ready to go “full time.” Kelly said he does not believe Kaepernick is 100 percent healthy.
“I think it’s the fact that my weight isn’t where it was,” Kaepernick said when asked why Kelly would conclude he is not ready. “My strength is still growing, developing. But, once again, I’m always going to be prepared, always ready to put it on the line for this team.”
Gabbert won the competition over Kaepernick to enter the regular season based on his body of work during the offseason program and training camp, according to Kelly. Kaepernick was not able to take part in the offseason program as he rehabbed from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee. He also missed nearly two weeks of training camp with arm fatigue.
Kaepernick appeared to drop more than 20 pounds in the spring and early summer. He is inching closer to his desired weight of approximately 225 pounds. Kaepernick, who is a vegan, said his plan to gain weight is, “Eat food and a lot of it.”
He added, “That’s something I’ve always had to do, be conscious of. I have a very lean body type, so putting weight on is a little more difficult than for others.”
But Kaepernick said he continues to prepare himself to play. Kaepernick played three snaps in a mop-up role in the opener. He did not play in either of the 49ers' past two games.
“That’s what I prepare for, that’s why I’m in the weight room, why I’m at practice, all those things,” Kaepernick said.
“We’re just trying to build (weight and strength). Whenever he (Kelly) feels like I’m ready to step on that field and ready to put me out there, I’ll be ready and willing.”
After the 49ers’ season-opening victory over the Los Angeles Rams, the team dropped back-to-back road games at Carolina and Seattle. Gabbert has completed 55.2 percent of his pass attempts with three touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 68.6.
Kaepernick said his frustration from the early part of this season stems from the outcomes of the past two games.
“The team always wants to win,” Kaepernick said. “I think that’s the only frustration. There are things that we need to improve, we have to address because the last two weeks weren’t good enough. So that’s something we have to do as a team to make sure we go out and get wins.”
When asked if he believes he can add something different to the 49ers’ offense, Kaepernick answered, “That remains to be seen. It’s still going to be the same offense. Obviously, I’m very confident in my talents and what I’m able to bring to the table. But it would still be the same offense.”