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Geep Chryst Applauds Blaine Gabbert's Performance under Pressure

Blaine Gabbert has an "appetite for everything."

Great quote, and it gets even more intriguing when put into proper context.

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has received significant praise after winning two of his first four starts this season. As for Gabbert's desire to go deeper into the pages of Geep Chryst's playbook, which the aforementioned quote refers to, the coordinator said on Thursday that the fifth-year pro has made the most of his opportunity under center. Chrysted also mentioned how the caliber of opponents have brought the best out of the young quarterback.

"I think even in the two losses, when you look at the strength of the opponent, both Arizona (Cardinals) and Seattle (Seahawks) looked like they had pretty good outings," Chryst added. "We felt like we were going toe-to-toe with them with Blaine at quarterback."

The 49ers will battle it out once again this Sunday when the Gabbert leads the team on the road for a 10 a.m. PT game against the Cleveland Browns.

An early kickoff was not a factor in last week's 26-20 road win over the Chicago Bears.

Gabbert won his first career outdoor start, totaling 196 passing yards and 76 yards on the ground, highlighted by a career-long, 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and a 71-yard touchdown bomb to end the game in overtime.

Chryst noted that Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, San Francisco's former defensive play-caller from 2011-14, backed off of blitzing Gabbert due to the quarterback's effectiveness on a 16-play scoring drive in the second quarter.

"Blaine had really good answers to the blitz," Chryst said. "Vic had to back off the blitz once it was shown that Blaine could do a nice job not just under pressure, which may be a collapsing pocket, but also under the blitz."

Chicago played primarily with a deep-shell coverage, which forced Gabbert to be patient and not force the ball into crowded downfield areas.

"Blaine's done a nice job of not panicking," the coordinator said. "(He takes) what profit may be available, and we've been rewarded."

Chryst credited Fangio's scheme and said the patience was rewarded in the end with a well-designed throw-and-catch to Torrey Smith for the game-winning touchdown.

In that instance, Gabbert responded to a different kind of pressure. He didn't only adjust to the presence of Chicago's four-man pass-rush, but he also overcame the pressure to perform in a sudden-death scenario.

"He's a well-prepared player," Chryst said. "He really spends a lot of time, which is to his credit."

Against the Browns, Gabbert will face the NFL's 31st-ranked defense in points allowed per game (28.9). Cleveland is also 2-10 on the season and has dropped seven contests in a row.

Cleveland's defensive front has been known to stack the box with extra defenders. Chryst pointed to head coach Mike Pettine's experience working under Rex Ryan as grounds to expect a variety of pressures on Sunday.

"(Pettine) could make a decision based on their tape study and where they are as a defense to bring a lot of pressure," Chryst said. "I think that's the great thing about a schedule that you play. Every week is a new challenge, and I'm curious to see because they've shown effectiveness when they bring pressure."

The 49ers coordinator spoke of Cleveland's usage of an eight-man coverage, in which the Browns force the opponent to make plays short of the first-down marker.

"They expect to tackle you short of the sticks," Chryst said. "So we're prepared for all the different looks that they have."

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