49ers

Kelly, 49ers 'have all the confidence in the world' in Gabbert

gabbert-blaine-49ers-red-pocket-throw-rams.jpg

Kelly, 49ers 'have all the confidence in the world' in Gabbert

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 62.9 percent of his pass attempts in the 49ers’ season opener on Monday night, but misfired on what appeared to be some simple throws.

Gabbert made his best throws in the fourth quarter, driving an 8-yard touchdown pass into Vance McDonald and sticking a 15-yard throw into tight coverage to Garrett Celek in the 49ers’ 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

“He did make it and should make it,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said of those pass attempts. “We have all the confidence in the world in him. You look at the ball he threw to Vance for the touchdown, he ripped that one in there.

“Again, first game in our system, understanding what he’s doing. First real live game. There were some real positives that we can build upon with him.”

Gabbert completed 22 of 35 pass attempts for 170 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also avoided getting sacked. But there was at least one instance in which he failed to capitalize on a big-play opportunity.

Gabbert overthrew Jeremy Kerley 20 yards down the field after the slot receiver had gotten behind three Los Angeles Rams defenders in the first quarter.

Gabbert had two badly underthrown passes, both to wide receiver Torrey Smith. He skipped his first pass of the game to the right side for Smith. Later, on a fourth-down play, Gabbert again came up short to Smith, who made the catch 2-yards behind the line of scrimmage and was immediately dropped for a loss. But Kelly said it might have been more of an instance of Gabbert expecting to make shorter throws.

“I think part of it was our receivers were too wide,” Kelly said. “Some of the spacing things and their splits should have been tighter for us to execute what we wanted to execute. So I think sometimes that throws Blaine off a little bit was that he’s expecting the receivers to be lined up five yards closer than they are, and now they are five yards wider than they are. So it’s just getting everybody on the same page.”

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Veteran tight end Jordan Reed seemingly is taking a huge risk with designs on a return to football after sustaining a seventh documented concussion a year ago.

But it is a risk that could pay off big for Reed and the 49ers this season, his first NFL coach said on Monday.

Kyle Shanahan was in his final season as Washington’s offensive coordinator during Reed’s first season after entering the league as a second-round draft pick. Now, Shanahan and Reed are back together after Reed agreed to a one-year contract on Monday.

“I know he hasn’t been on the field for a little bit. I know he’s very hungry to get back out there,” Shanahan said.

“When you have a talented guy who’s hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy. And Jordan has had some bad luck over the years. I know he’s ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here. And if he does, I think it’s going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners and a really good deal for him, also.”

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

Reed, 30, has appeared in just 65 games over the past seven seasons with Washington. He has 329 career receptions for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best season came in 2015, when he saw action in 14 games and caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He did not play last season after sustaining a concussion in a preseason game. The Washington Football Team released him in February.

“Everyone is aware of Jordan’s ability,” Shanahan said. “When he’s been healthy, he’s played at an extremely high level. And he’s been one of the first third-down tight ends in the league when he’s been healthy.”

[RELATEDShanahan optimistic 49ers, Kittle will get contract done]

Shanahan said he typically likes to bring six tight ends to training camp. It was a little more difficult this summer because teams have to trim to 80 players instead of the usual 90-man limits. But the 49ers found a way to add Reed, who figures to join a competition to become George Kittle’s backup.

Reed will compete with Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm and sixth-round draft pick Charlie Woerner for the backup job.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams isn't the only former Washington Football Team player joining the 49ers this offseason.

San Francisco signed free agent tight end Jordan Reed to an incentive-laden one-year contract on Monday, hoping to put a steady backup behind All-Pro George Kittle. Formerly a third-round draft pick by Washington in 2013, Reed was a teammate of Williams in the nation's capital for each of the past six seasons. Williams expressed his excitement for Reed on his Instagram story Monday afternoon.

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

A Pro Bowl selection in 2016, Reed missed all of the 2019 season after getting a concussion in the third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Like Williams, Reed finished the 2019 season on injured reserve. Washington released Reed in February.

Reed could see his role increased significantly early on with the 49ers if Kittle's contract negotiations continue to stall, as general manager John Lynch didn't give much of an update Monday on the conversations.

[RELATED: 49ers rule D.J. Reed out for year after surgery on torn pec]

“We’re working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch told reporters over Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Reed's concerning history with concussions wasn't lost on Lynch, but the 49ers clearly see the upside in a tight end with four 50+ catch seasons out of his six healthy NFL seasons.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”