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Notebook: No Decision Made on Starting QB for Houston Texans Matchup


**The San Francisco 49ers open the 2016 preseason this Sunday at home against the Houston Texans.

The previous statement brings on the following questions: Who will be the starting quarterback and how much will key players be on the field?

Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins was in this very line of questioning at 49ers camp on Tuesday. For starters, the OC was asked who would get the first snaps between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick.

"I'm not sure yet," Modkins said. "We've got, what, five days before we play? We haven't got that far yet, but towards the end of it, I'm sure we'll figure out how we're going to do that."

Modkins emphasized that both signal-callers have been equally impressive through eight days of on-field work.

"Both guys are doing a good job," Modkins began. "They are both competing their tails off. In the classroom, on the field, they are both doing a good job. I wouldn't say any one is ahead of the other right now. I think as we get into the preseason and we get to playing live games, those things will start happening. But right now, I wouldn't say anyone is ahead of anybody. I just think they are both progressing like we want them to and both have been really good."

Fair enough.

From now until San Francisco's Week 1 home opener against the Los Angeles Rams on "Monday Night Football," the coaching staff will come together and discuss who makes sense as QB1 for Chip Kelly's first year with the 49ers.

According to Modkins, it will ultimately be the head coach's call on who gets the ball against Los Angeles.

"Chip allows everybody to have some input, and he'll make the ultimate call on who that is," Modkins detailed. "But Chip's always had all of us involved in it. We'll discuss not only that position, but all the positions. Obviously, that's the one everybody talks about, but there will be discussions on all the positions, and he'll make the ultimate call."

Sunday's preseason opener against the Texans will feature less planning and more basic fundamentals for the 49ers offense. It will also give the coaches a better understanding of who performs the best in live-game scenarios.

"We're not looking to out-scheme Houston by any means," Modkins said. "We're looking to see who can block and who can be in the right places and who steps the right way, whose fundamentals are the right way and whose pad levels are down. Can we throw and catch simple routes? There's not any game-planning going on for the first game."

Friday's joint practices with the Texans will add another wrinkle in the highly-discussed position debates. Strong performances could also create increased playing time for Sunday's game.

Niner Notes
– The return of Anthony Davis continues to be well received by members of the coaching staff and locker room. "I've been very impressed where Anthony is at," Modkins said. "He's making a real effort to really understand, and he's putting extra time in. So, I don't think any of us could be more impressed with Anthony, what he's doing right now."

– In other offensive linemen news, Modkins commented on how Davis and first-round draft pick Joshua Garnett are handling zone-blocking with the 49ers. Both mauling linemen worked exclusively next to each other on the right side of the offensive line at tackle and guard, respectively. "As far as them working together, I wouldn't read a whole lot into it," the OC said. "We'll be mixing and matching things, but they have worked together some and they work good together. But, that won't be the only combination, so we'll proceed as we go with that, but don't read too much into that." Shortly after Modkins spoke, Garnett worked with the second-team offense at left guard. Davis remained at right tackle with the second group.

– First-team right tackle Trent Brown has yet to relinquish his spot. The reason why? "Trent's a very talented player, and he's doing a good job so far of being consistent everyday coming out and being consistent with his technique and the fundamentals and his effort," Modkins said. "We're excited about what Trent's doing, and we look forward to seeing how that progresses."

–Modkins also had kind words for wide receiver Quinton Patton. The fourth-year wideout, who turned 26 on Tuesday, was applauded for his leadership and pass-catching ability. "He's in the right places," Modkins said. "Q's done a really good job. We're excited."

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