In his opening remarks on New Year's Eve, Geep Chryst went out of his way to compliment four members of the San Francisco 49ers offense.
The coordinator applauded the contributions of quarterback Blaine Gabbert, guard Andrew Tiller, running back Shaun Draughn and tight end Garrett Celek. The quartet of young players have all stepped up in various ways after beginning the season in reserve roles.
The latter two have been placed on season-ending Injured Reserve and will not see the field for Sunday's regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams.
Gabbert and Tiller, however, have opportunities to build on their recent on-field experiences.
In regards to San Francisco's signal-caller, Chryst was rather expansive about what he's observed during Gabbert's seven-game stint with the first-team offense.
"We really like not just what he's done in those seven games and the production he's had, but how he's continued to improve," Chryst said.
The 49ers coordinator spoke confidently about how Gabbert can progress in the second phase of his professional career.
"I see Blaine as a young quarterback with a lot of upside," Chryst said. "He's stayed healthy throughout his career. With this extended playing time, again, seven games being a sample size compared to what he did in Jacksonville when he was a young quarterback, I think there's been improvement there."
When a reporter reminded the team's first-year coordinator that the offense hasn't scored more than 20 points all season, Chryst countered the topic with other metrics for success.
Chryst mentioned Gabbert's 230.7 passing yards per start, accuracy (63 percent completion percentage), decision-making (nine touchdowns, six interceptions) and red-zone efficiency as reasons to be encouraged about the future of the 26-year-old quarterback.
Chryst said the team's 10 touchdowns in 13 red-zone trips was "dramatic improvement" from the first half of the regular season.
"He uses his athleticism, his mobility," Chryst said of Gabbert. "I think that's also where he's probably used the tight ends in a positive way. But yeah, we're not perfect across the board. The two things that affect your scoring, right, are going to be field position, your starting field position and then the third downs which extend drives. You either get more drives, get them on a shorter field or extend the drives you do have."
Chryst understood the team's ranking as 32nd in offense, but he also mentioned the team is 19th in yards per play during Gabbert's seven-game run engineering the 49ers offense.
"Again, it's a sample size," Chryst said. "(You) choose what metric you may, but you get the feeling that Blaine is playing quality quarterback right now."