Blaine Gabbert Reflects on Eight Starts with 49ers, Shares Goals for 2016 Season

The San Francisco 49ers have eight games of tape to evaluate Blaine Gabbert's 2015 season. The fifth-year quarterback entered the starting lineup in Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons and never relinquished the position.

In his half-season of work, Gabbert set a career high with a 63.1 completion percentage while throwing for 2,031 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The yardage total is just 183 yards shy of his career best set during his rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. Gabbert's 10 touchdowns are two short of the 12 he posted that same year.

What's more, Gabbert nearly managed to eclipse all of those 2011 numbers despite starting six fewer games.

"It just came down to going out there and doing it," Gabbert said. "I just wanted to go out there and lead to the best of my ability, provide a little spark to this football team, a little juice to this offense."

Ultimately, Gabbert posted a record of 3-5 in the 49ers 5-11 season. Following Gabbert's career-best 354 passing yards in a Week 17 home victory over the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers elected to relieve Jim Tomsula of his duties as head coach.

"It's sad to say, but it's the way this business is now," the quarterback said of the announcement. "I'm appreciative of Coach Tomsula and this coaching staff for the opportunity they gave me this season. I hope I didn't let them or this organization down out there on the field."

Players initially found out about Tomsula's dismissal via text message on Sunday night before the 49ers announced the move publicly. CEO Jed York followed up by meeting with the players Monday morning prior to addressing the media.

Gabbert called York's conversation "straight-forward" and "cut and dry."

"They're going to make the decision that's best for this organization and bring the people here to get us back to the high level that we need to be playing at," Gabbert said.

Once a new coach is in place, decisions will need to be made about the team's starting quarterback in 2016. Gabbert is still under contract for next season. So too are Colin Kaepernick and Dylan Thompson.

When asked to comment on the state of the team's quarterback depth chart for next year, Gabbert said he is solely focused on what he can do in order to win the job.

"I'm going to compete. That's in my blood, that's who I am as a person," Gabbert said. "I'm approaching this offseason like I'm the starting quarterback of the 49ers. Regardless of what happens, that's my mindset moving forward; that I'm going to take this team and run with it."

Some of Gabbert's season highlights include a career long 44-yard touchdown run and walk-off, 71-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith in Week 13 against the Chicago Bears. Gabbert also surpassed 300 passing yards in two games: Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals and last Sunday against the Rams.

The quarterback told the media that he's fully healthy and will begin his offseason routine immediately. Gabbert will have four months to train before the team reconvenes in May for minicamp.

Then the competition begins.

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