Kaepernick will start over Gabbert in 49ers' game at Bills

Kaepernick will start over Gabbert in 49ers' game at Bills

SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick has regained his role as the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

Coach Chip Kelly announced on Tuesday that Kaepernick will replace Blaine Gabbert when the 49ers return to action Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, New York.

Kelly said he informed both quarterbacks of the decision Tuesday morning before meeting with the media at the team's headquarters. Kelly said he wanted to make the move early in the week to properly prepare Kaepernick for the starting job. Gabbert will remain in uniform as the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback, Kelly said.

“You got to distribute the reps,” Kelly said. “You can’t go all week long and say, ‘We’re going to make a move on Saturday,’ and then say, ‘Colin didn’t get enough reps with the ones.’”

The decision to move Kaepernick back into the starting lineup comes at a time when there is a new contract proposal on the table that would eliminate a $14.5 million injury guarantee for next season while voiding the final four years of his contract. The deal would also reportedly convert bonus money for the remainder of this season into a guarantee.

As of Tuesday morning, Kaepernick has yet to sign the contract. Kelly said the contract situation had no bearing on his decision.

“I don’t deal with contracts,” Kelly said. “It’s a football decision. I don’t even know where his contract status is. That’s a question for him. But I’ve never discussed his contract, nor will I discuss his contract.”

Gabbert started the first five games of the season for the 49ers (1-4). The 49ers rank 31st in the NFL in passing yards, averaging 170.0 yards per game. Only the Bills (169.4) are worse.

Gabbert won the starting job in training camp. But he failed to solidify his spot on the depth chart. The 49ers are currently mired in a four-game losing streak.

Only Arizona backup quarterback Drew Stanton has a lower yards-per-attempt average than Gabbert’s 5.9-yard average among the 44 quarterbacks who have completed passes this season. Gabbert’s 69.6 passer rating ranks next-to-last in the NFL ahead of only Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets.

The players were off four days while the coaches met and discussed the topic, Kelly said.

“We were very analytical and sat down as a staff, watched the tape and went over everything,” Kelly said. “We’ve had a couple of days to kind of digest everything, where we are. I think offensively. It’s not Blaine’s fault. As a group, offensively, we need to be better in a lot of ways.”

Kaepernick took over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2012 when Alex Smith originally left the lineup due to a concussion. Kaepernick started 47 consecutive regular season games before getting benched at the midway point of last season.

The 49ers are 27-20 in regular-season games in which Kaepernick has started. The team is also 4-2 in the playoffs with him at quarterback, including a Super Bowl run at the conclusion of the 2012 season.

Kelly has talked throughout the early portion of the season about Kaepernick’s weight and strength. Kaepernick lost considerable weight during his offseason rehabilitation from shoulder, knee and thumb surgeries.

“We can let that go,” Kelly said. “He, physically, is not where he was pre-injury. Before that, he was little bit bigger, a little bit faster, a little bit stronger. He will admit that. He’s worked as hard as anybody I’ve ever been around in terms of his rehab. That’s the only point I’ve ever tried to make since Day 1.”

NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Nick Bosa at No. 2 to bolster pass rush

NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Nick Bosa at No. 2 to bolster pass rush

The 49ers got their guy.

With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, San Francisco selected Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa.

"It's a new journey," Bosa told ESPN's Suzy Kolber shortly after the 49ers selected him. "I'm so excited to finally be back on a team. Can't wait to get to work. But this is all the work I've put in since I was seven years old and it's finally here."

Bosa will join his new teammates on the field for the 49ers' rookie minicamp May 3 through May 5, and he can't wait to get started.

"I want to get with my team, and I want to kick some butt on the field," Bosa told Kolber. "I'm so excited to go to work."

Here's the full breakdown on Bosa.

Nick Bosa

Position: Defensive end
College: Ohio State
Height: 6-4
Weight: 266
Selection: First round (No. 2 overall)

Scouting report

Bosa has a unique blend of lower-body strength, agility, balance and tenacity. He is a technician who has been studying the game, and, specifically, the art of pass-rushing, from an early age. His dad, John Bosa, and uncle, Eric Kumerow, were first-round draft picks of the Miami Dolphins in back-to-back years. His older brother, Joey, was the No. 3 overall pick of the Chargers in 2016. His measurables compare favorably to his brother. Nick Bosa ran a 4.79 in the 40 and had 29 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.

“Nick will succeed in any defense he is placed into. He can win on the edge, he can likely win inside when set up to maximize one on one matchups,” said draft expert Josh Norris of Rotoworld and NBC Sports in his evaluation.

Bosa recorded 8.5 sacks as a sophomore and was primed for a big junior year. But he sustained a bilateral core muscle injury in the third game of the season – after recording four sacks up to that point -- and underwent season-ending surgery. He is completely recovered and took part in the full workout at the combine in February.

Projected role

The 49ers entered the offseason with a major need at edge rusher after a season in which Cassius Marsh and Ronald Blair managed just 5.5 sacks apiece. The club acquired Dee Ford in a trade with Kansas City, and Marsh was released.

Now, Bosa is added to provide an upgrade on the other side. Bosa will certainly be deployed as a nickel pass rusher from Day 1. He has the strength and leverage to be very good against the run. Bosa could help the 49ers accomplish GM John Lynch’s goal of putting together a “dominant” defensive line.

Bosa becomes the fourth defensive lineman the 49ers have chosen with a first-round pick since 2015, joining Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas.

What they’re saying

“I’m somebody that loves the game more than anybody. I’m going to come in and I’m going to work every day, every practice trying to find new things to better myself. If you do draft me, then you’ll have somebody who’s going to improve throughout my entire career” – Nick Bosa on what NFL teams should know about him.

“He has a very strong lower body. He’s got great balance, like a wrestler. He can stay on his feet. I think what makes him different” – Larry Johnson, Ohio State defensive line coach.

[RELATED: The Choice -- Football is in Nick Bosa's blood]

“He’s a great teammate. He’s always pushing the younger guys. He’s a very high competitor. Sometimes our coaches had to pull him back because of how hard he goes” – Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin, a two-time team captain.

“I just love them, the culture. It seems like the kind of culture I’d like to be in. It was just a really good visit. It just seems like a family. Every coach that I talked to when they were away from coach (Kyle) Shanahan just talked up how player-friendly he is and how he’s just a regular guy, but when it’s time to go to work, he goes to work. Playing for somebody like that would be really cool” -- Bosa on the time he has spent with the 49ers during the draft process.

NFL draft tracker 2019: First-round pick, trade updates as they happen

NFL draft tracker 2019: First-round pick, trade updates as they happen

The 2019 NFL Draft is underway in Nashville, Tenn., and the Bay Area's two teams should be in the center of the action.

The 49ers selected Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick. The Raiders took Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick.

Oakland also owns the Nos. 24 and 27 picks -- meaning they have many options that could decide where the top prospects fall.

[RELATED: Follow latest draft news, trade talk during Round 1]

It promises to be an interesting slate of 32 picks made in the Music City, and you can follow live as each selection is made in the 2019 NFL Draft tracker below:

1. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

3. New York Jets
Quinnen Williams, defensive tackle, Alabama

4. Oakland Raiders
Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. New York Giants
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Denver Broncos
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Washington Redskins
16. Carolina Panthers
17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns in Odell Beckham Jr. trade)
18. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Houston Texans
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears in Khalil Mack trade)
25. Philadelphia Eagles
26. Indianapolis Colts
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys in Amari Cooper trade)
28. Los Angeles Chargers
29. Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City Chiefs in Frank Clark trade)
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans Saints in 2018 draft-day trade)
31. Los Angeles Rams
32. New England Patriots