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Notebook: QB Competition Continues, 49ers Shuffle O-Line Prior to Packers Matchup


**Colin Kaepernick remains in competition with Blaine Gabbert to be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

For the second consecutive day, Kaepernick took part in the closed practice.

The battle between Kaepernick and Gabbert will continue heading into Friday night's third preseason game against the visiting Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick might have an opportunity to join the rest of his fellow quarterbacks in live competition, but he'll first have to go through the remainder of the week without any soreness in his right shoulder.

First-year 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins took to the podium on Tuesday to share his evaluation on Kaepernick's practice return and explain why the team hasn't named a regular-season starter.

"It's not time," Modkins said. "It's a competition, and Kap hasn't had a chance to perform yet. So when that happens and when coach (Chip Kelly) feels like it's time, we'll do that. But right now, it's not time. We've still got a ways to go before we play."

Kaepernick was sidelined for almost two weeks with shoulder fatigue in his right arm. In his anticipated return to practice, Kaepernick impressed teammates with a deep completion to Bruce Ellington. According to Modkins, Kaepernick's on-field absence won't diminish his chances of winning the QB1 job.

"I thought Colin was fine yesterday," Modkins added. "I don't think there's anything different as far as where he stands in the competition. We'll see how the week goes, see how he progresses and see what happens on Friday."

Gabbert has led two scoring drives in his two preseason appearances. He's also yet to throw an interception or take a sack.

Modkins offered a positive review on Gabbert's preseason performance in last weekend's road victory over the Denver Broncos.

"Blaine's done a good job," the OC said. "I was pleased with what he did. I like to see how he started, and he responded. He got the team moving. ... He's been accurate with the ball. All of our quarterbacks have."

O-line Movement

Anthony Davis and Joshua Garnett worked with the first-team offensive line at right and left guard, respectively.

Davis told reporters that he took all but three practice snaps with the starters on the offensive line. Garnett said he split time with veteran Zane Beadles on the left side of the line.

"I'm a big man, (I have) quick hands, and I can bend pretty well," said Davis, when asked why his talent lends itself to a position change. "It'll take some time to get used to it. I'll watch a lot of Mike Iupati to figure out. Mike will help me out. I'll call him."

As for Garnett, the move to the left side hasn't been as sudden of a shift. He played left guard primarily at Stanford where he won the Morris Trophy as the conference's top offensive lineman.

"I feel like if I can build that consistency where the coaches can trust me to put me in any situation," Garnett said. "That'll be what helps out the most."

San Francisco's first- and second-team offensive line combinations will be monitored closely on Friday.Niners Notes

– Garrett Celek is listed ahead of Garrett Celek on the depth chart, but Modkins doesn't pay much attention to where his top tight ends stack up. "I think Vance has done a good job, and I don't look at it as opposed to Garrett," the OC said. "It's not that Garrett hasn't done a good job, because I think he has. Vance has made some plays for us, and hopefully he'll continue. I think Garrett will have his fair chance to make some too."

– San Francisco running backs have lost five fumbles so far in the preseason. Modkins, a former running back at TCU and NFL position coach for many years, believes the 49ers will rectify the recent turnover issue. "You just have to emphasize it," Modkins explained. "We talk about it a lot. (Running backs) Coach (Tom) Rathman does a good job in his drills. We address it. Obviously, that's got to improve. You can't win many games in this league turning the ball over three times (in Denver). But coach Rathman, I think he's been coaching 19 years or so, his backs are number one as far as turning the ball over, fewest amount. So he knows what he's doing. We've just got to continue to emphasize it."

– EA Sports' Madden NFL 17 was released on Tuesday. A handful of 49ers were able to test out the game prior to its release date. Take a peek at this classic gaming exchange between Mike Davis, Jaquiski Tartt, plus a quality cameo from Torrey Smith. Be on the lookout from more @49ers tweets from the gaming session soon.

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