The San Francisco 49ers have benched Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert, but according to head coach Jim Tomsula, it may only be for this Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Kaepernick has just seven touchdowns (six pass, one rush) in eight games this season and hasn’t scored in either of the last two weeks, during which he’s thrown for just 286 yards combined. While his struggles have been apparent, is there really a benefit to sitting out a week and watching as opposed to playing?
“I don’t know that we can determine whether it’s going to go one way or the other,” NFL Network and NFL on FOX analyst Charles Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The future will tell us because it could bounce it where he gets a week and a chance to breathe, as Jim Tomsula has said, and he’s able to get off the mat and come back with renewed vengeance. It also could serve the other way: ‘Wait, you benched me? My confidence is totally shot now. I’ve got nothing left to give you.’ We very well could be seeing the last of him in San Francisco. He may very well need to go someplace else and start over.”
Davis certainly isn’t the first person to voice that opinion, especially since the 49ers have lost six of their last seven games. Complicating matters further are reports that Kaepernick isn’t interacting or getting along with his teammates.
It sure is funny how Kaepernick’s personality wasn’t a problem when the Niners were playing in the NFC Championship every year.
“You know when things aren’t going well, it really piles up,” Davis said. “When he was playing super well, him having Beats on made for a great commercial. When he wasn’t playing well, him having beats on meant he didn’t talk to his teammates and they didn’t have his back. The truth usually lies somewhere in between, but I think you identified it very well. It’s a confidence thing with Colin right now. He hasn’t figured out how to play to his strengths yet continue to get better at what he wasn’t great at, which is being a pocket player. It’s almost like he was trying to do one thing – ‘I’m going to be a pocket passer, period’ – and took away the gifts that made him the Colin Kaepernick we saw for awhile, which were his legs and his ability to create and improvise.
“When guys try and get better at those things they’re not so great at, it’s a good idea,” Davis continued, “but don’t do it to the detriment of the thing that got you there, and sometimes that happens as well. I think right now he does need that breather. I don’t think Blaine Gabbert is your answer. But at the same time, I think Colin Kaepernick could use some time out of the lineup and the team needs to take a collective deep breath and kind of start over again. You see Vernon Davis got traded, so maybe there was something to him and Joe Staley squaring off and it was time for him to start over as well.”