Blaine Gabbert starting for the San Francisco 49ers was actually a debate on Sunday night, even though he guided the team to a surprising victory against the Atlanta Falcons.
Immediately after the stunning upset, Jim Tomsula greeted the media like he always does after every game. The head coach was asked if Gabbert would continue to be the starting quarterback for the Niners. Rather than making a commitment, Tomsula informed reporters that he and his coaching staff will be doing evaluations during the week to make that decision.
The evaluation was pretty quick.
On Monday afternoon, 49ers.com reported that Tomsula had pegged Gabbert to be his starter for the following week. San Francisco is scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks, a heated rival, on November 22. The game will take place at CenturyLink Field.This is going to be a tough game for Gabbert.
Seahawks fans are pretty rabid, and they absolutely love to let other NFL teams know that when they come visit. They're especially loud when the 49ers come to town because both teams have been battling for playoffs superiority for the past couple of years. Colin Kaepernick struggled to call plays in that stadium, so it should come as no surprise if Gabbert goes through the same issues.
The Seahawks themselves are going to make it a tough game for Gabbert, as well. Though they struggled early on when Kam Chancellor was holding out for a new contract, Seattle has gotten back into their groove on defense. The 2nd ranked defense in the NFL, which includes superstars such as Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett, is going to be gunning for Gabbert, especially since he is a new target for them.
Even though he is no longer the starting quarterback, all eyes are going to be drawn toward Kaepernick when he is on the sidelines in that game. The former Nevada Wolf Pack star was very supportive of his teammates during the game against the Falcons. It will be interesting to see if the Seattle fans get on his nerves because they seem ready to mock him for regressing as a quarterback.
If Gabbert gets destroyed by the stadium and Seahawks secondary, then this becomes an opportunity for Kaepernick. The Niners didn't even bother to sign another quarterback after benching Kaepernick. A poor showing by Gabbert will open up the discussion about the position again, and he could find himself competing to reclaim his job.
Not having a solid commitment at the quarterback position is making it a really difficult rookie season for Tomsula. The 49ers might need to find a scapegoat in order to keep their fan base interested. There is a very good chance that Tomsula could be one and done if the team loses more than ten games.
On the flip side, though, if Tomsula can somehow guide the Niners to an 8-8 record, which would match what the team did last year amid all the injuries that the roster suffered, then there is a chance that he could convince management to give him another year. To go.500 for the season would mean that the team overachieved. To beat Seattle would mean that Gabbert overachieved.
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