On Thursday night the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers squared off in a primetime matchup that more or less met everyone’s expectations.
Arizona, the road favorite, won 33-21 while the 49ers and embattled starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled to do much right. Gabbert finished the game 18-31 passing for 162 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs, good for a 56.1 quarterback rating (QBR).
His latest uninspiring performance once again has fans and pundits wondering how much longer Gabbert can hold on to the starting job over back up quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
So, could we see a new quarterback under center when the 49ers hit the field next weekend?
“For the first time, Amy, I think (Chip Kelly) sounded open minded to the idea,” KNBR radio host and 49ers pre and post game host Larry Kruger told Amy Lawrence after Thursday night’s game. “Gabbert made a half dozen incredible throws, but he also made four or five really bad throws. And the inconsistency with his accuracy is hurting the team. There’s not a lot of separation with these wide receivers, it’s not the NFL’s greatest wide receiver core, but his inconsistencies aren’t helping things.”
Still, Krueger, who was a scout with the Cardinals organization before joining KNBR, doesn’t think that Kaepernick is necessarily better than Gabbert and that the real problem with this offense may lie elsewhere.
“I really don’t think that Gabbert is necessarily worse than Kaepernick and in some ways he’s probably more accurate than Kaepernick was,” Krueger said. “At some point you have to make a change just because you have another guy there and you have to take a look at him, but I really think this has a lot more to do with their lack of viable weapons on the outside. They don’t have an outside receiver who can beat man-to-man coverage, so there’s not a lot open, teams are cheating up against Carlos Hyde to stop the run and it’s leaving the 49ers in almost a stranglehold offensively.”
Outside of the 49ers’ woes, it’s a pretty good time to be a Bay Area sports fan. The new-look Warriors have hit the court for preseason and the San Francisco Giants are the toast of the town after winning a thrilling one-game Wild Card playoff against the New York Mets on Wednesday night, thanks mostly to that Madison Bumgarner guy,who’s pretty good in the playoffs in case you haven’t heard.
So what is it about Bumgarner that makes him so tough to solve on baseball’s biggest stage?
“He’s so stubborn,” Krueger said. “His will is greater than your will. He’s an amazing pitcher and also it seems like his breaking stuff in October is just crisp. His curveball that he throws on the outside corner and he can paint the corner against right handed hitters, that’s almost an unhittable pitch. That’s just never across the plate but it’s a strike.”
“The Giants’ run right now is an amazing thing. They’re 9-0 in their last nine elimination games, 11 straight series — or Wild Card rounds they’ve won in October. It’s borderline Yankee-esque right now what they’re doing.”