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Blaine Gabbert Gaining Traction in 49ers Offense

Posted Aug 1, 2014

Despite being under his fourth offensive coordinator in as many NFL seasons, the 49ers quarterback has positioned himself as the frontrunner to be Colin Kapernick's backup.

Entering his fourth NFL season, 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert is on his fourth different offensive coordinator – three from his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the latest being San Francisco’s Greg Roman.

That kind of constant upheaval typically doesn’t bode well for a young signal-caller, but for Gabbert, the process of learning a new system isn’t quite as daunting anymore.

“He’s showing all the signs of developing quite rapidly and executing very well,” Jim Harbaugh said. “(He’s) sharp in all mental facets, in terms of knowing all the plays, and he’s come along.”  

Acquired via trade in March, the 2011 first-round draft pick has leaned on Colin Kaepernick during his transition as a “sounding board” for any thoughts or questions on the system. Now Gabbert’s main focus is pinning down the nuances of the offense ahead of the team’s preseason slate.

“The biggest thing is mastering the playbook,” he said. “I’m picking up on the little things now, so when you go out there, you’re not thinking, you’re just playing football.”

As the lead candidate for the backup quarterback job, Gabbert figures to see plenty of action in August, beginning with the 49ers’ first rehearsal for their 2014 campaign on Thursday against the Ravens.

“It’ll be fun, it’s just an opportunity to go out there and play against another opponent,” he said. “An opportunity for us to get better and learn some things… it’s going to be a big benefit for us moving forward into the season.”

The 49ers believe Gabbert’s fresh start in San Francisco will allow the quarterback to put his struggles behind him and flourish as a maturing player surrounded by elite talent. During his three-year tenure with the Jaguars, Gabbert threw 24 interceptions and 22 touchdowns.

“Blaine’s time at another team was what it was,” Roman said. “I think he’s extremely smart. I think he might have a photographic memory. Very efficient with the football and understands it. Really excited that he’s a part of our team.”

That feeling appears to be mutual.

“(The coaches) really put the players in the best position to make plays,” Gabbert said. “We have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the football and it makes the quarterback’s job really easy.”

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