Coach Chip Kelly on Thursday night made no guarantees that Blaine Gabbert will continue in the role of the 49ers’ starting quarterback.
While the most obvious move would be to promote Colin Kaepernick into the starting role, sources told CSNBayArea.com on Friday morning that there is some support among the team’s offensive players for Christian Ponder to move ahead of both Gabbert and Kaepernick.
“Ponder is the best option for quarterback on the roster,” said a locker-room source.
The 49ers have lost four consecutive games, and the team’s passing game ranks last in the NFL. Gabbert completed 58 percent of his pass attempts in the first five games, with five touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 69.6.
Ponder, a fifth-year NFL veteran, won a roster spot with the 49ers after being a late arrival in training camp. The 49ers signed Ponder on Aug. 16 to take the roster spot vacated by Thad Lewis’ season-ending knee injury.
Ponder beat out rookie Jeff Driskel for the No. 3 job to open the season. The Cincinnati Bengals claimed Driskel to be their No. 3 quarterback.
While Gabbert has struggled mightily in games, Kaepernick has been out-performed in practices, Kelly confirmed on Thursday after the 49ers' 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
One player questioned Kaepernick’s commitment, pointing to the weight he has been unable to regain in the four months since the conclusion of the team’s offseason program. Kaepernick lost considerable weight while rehabbing from shoulder, knee and thumb surgeries.
Kaepernick has served as the 49ers’ backup for the first four games, while Ponder has been inactive as the No. 3 quarterback. Ponder, working primarily with the scout team, has been more consistent than Kaepernick in practices, a source said.
The 49ers players are off until Tuesday. Kelly said he will meet with his coaching staff to consider all options before the team reports back to work.
“I think we’re going to look at everything,” Kelly said. “I mean, we’re 1-4. We need to make sure we’re going out there and giving us the best chance to win, so we’re going to look at everything.”