Sometimes, a change in scenery is all an NFL quarterback needs to show he still belongs in the league.
Blaine Gabbert is trying to do that. A once thought to be the savior of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise, Gabbert never lived up to the expectations of being the leader of the then downtrodden team, and was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a draft pick, thus ending his three years in north Florida.
Gabbert sat on the bench last year, playing the role of backup and clipboard holder for Colin Kaepernick. This season, he appears to be a potential answer to the team’s need for a starter for the rest of the season, but also could weigh heavily in the plans for the team in 2016.
Oh, even with the 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Gabbert still gives this team the best chance to win on the field.
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The change in Gabbert on the field could force a trade of the team’s opening game starter, which speaks volumes about where the team is with Kaepernick, but more importantly where the 49ers stand with Gabbert, who appears to have won the locker room over.
Anquan Boldin said Gabbert could be the team’s future. Boldin might be the biggest supporter of the move at quarterback since he is getting more targets now that the change has been made.
According to NFL.com: "As far as Boldin is concerned, Gabbert has shown enough to be the long-term option for the team. On Around the NFL on NFL Network last Thursday, Andrew Siciliano asked if Gabbert could be the team's future at the quarterback position.
"I think so," Boldin replied. "His body of work the last couple of weeks speaks for itself. You don't play the way that he's been playing just by luck."
Gabbert’s demeanor may be perfect for the left coast, where it was never a real fit in Florida. He was jittery, timid and never looked comfortable in teal and black. And when the team lost game after game, Gabbert’s persona changed to “Blame Gabbert” as it was the mantra for most fans and social media sites.
The blame in the 49ers performance this season cannot rest on the shoulders of the former Missouri passer. It looks as if the change in coasts has been the right move for the potential long-term solution to the NFC West team’s problems.
Gabbert is also an inexpensive choice as opposed to Kaepernick’s contract. As NFL.com explains, He's due roughly $2 million next season, which is about half the price of a quality backup. Gabbert has proven he's a quality backup at worst, and we tend to agree with Boldin: The 49ers could do a lot worse than Gabbert as their starter next year.
The next month should prove to be the ultimate audition for Gabbert as to whether he remains the starter here in San Francisco if the team works to deal Kaepernick, or ultimately trades Gabbert to a team in need of a starter.