SANTA CLARA (AP) — 49ers coach Chip Kelly said Monday he isn’t ready to make a quarterback switch after his offense struggled in consecutive road losses to Carolina and Seattle.
Kelly said Colin Kaepernick, the backup, isn’t physically ready to start while Blaine Gabbert ranks 31st in the NFL in completion percentage and 30th in passer rating through three games.
Kelly’s offense managed just 254 yards in the 37-18 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday.
“Kap is our number two right now and everybody wants to know why Kap isn’t our number one. I don’t think Kap is 100 percent right now,” Kelly said.
“I think his playing weight has been around 225 and he’s not at that right now. He’s going out there and continuing to work, continuing to get better. He had a serious layoff in times in terms of being able to medical rehab.
“To get the full Kap for what you need, the potential that he has, he needs to continue to just work on the physical aspect of things.
Kaepernick missed the bulk of the offseason program recovering from three surgeries since November. He was placed on injured reserve Nov. 21 to have surgery on his left shoulder before having two more procedures on his right hand and left knee in January.
He missed the first two preseason games nursing a fatigued throwing shoulder which set him back while competing for the starting role.
Kaepernick was the only member of the 49ers working out on the team’s practice field Monday while Kelly addressed reporters. Players are given Mondays off.
Kaepernick made headlines in the preseason when he first elected not to stand during the national anthem before games in protest of racial inequality and police brutality.
He announced after the preseason finale he would donate $1 million of his salary to organizations supporting his cause. He confirmed last week that he received death threats in reaction to his protest.
Gabbert didn’t eclipse 100 yards passing Sunday until 2:03 remaining with a completion to Rod Streater. The offense didn’t convert a third down until the fourth quarter after starting 0 for 10. At that point, the Seahawks led 37-3.
“I think sometimes everybody keeps pointing specifically to the quarterback, but it’s not like the offensive line’s playing tremendous, the running back are doing everything, the wide receivers are doing everything and we’re just not getting good quarterback play,” Kelly said.
“I think it’s the entire group offensively. We need to convert.”
Kelly said Kaepernick received increased practice time leading up to the loss in Seattle. Kaepernick worked as the scout team quarterback to help the starting defense better prepare for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who run a similar scheme to Kelly’s.
The defense was equally problematic for Kelly on Sunday.
The 49ers were down at halftime 24-3 after allowing two rushing touchdowns to Christine Michael on Seattle’s first two possessions. The Seahawks had 331 yards in the first half.
Michael finished with 106 yards rushing on 20 carries. Receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham had 164 and 100 yards receiving, respectively.
The 49ers next host the Dallas Cowboys (2-1), who beat Chicago 31-17 on Sunday night.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, a fourth-round selection, completed 67 percent of his passes during his first three games and has not thrown an interception. He’s replacing starter Tony Romo after he suffered a back injury during the preseason.
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