SANTA CLARA, Calif. – (KTVU) - San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Tomsula and Quarterback Blaine Gabbert spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday about the decision to bench quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
At the team’s weekly press conference Tomsula said Kaepernick is someone he’s “gotta lot of respect for”.
On Monday Tomsula told Kaepernick that he would not be the starting quarterback on Sunday against Atlanta. Blaine Gabbert will start in his place.
“It was a tough decision, all those decisions are tough, but I feel like it’s the direction we need to go,” Tomsula said.
Tomsula said he wanted to give Kaepernick a chance to step out of the quarterback spotlight, and the pressure that comes with it.
He also said Kapernick shouldn’t be blamed for the team’s struggle this season. “In no way is two and six all on Colin,” he said. “It’s on all of us. Everybody here on the Niners.”
“This is a guy I care about a lot and respect a lot. This is a guy who I think has talent and I want him to just step back, keep working, but to move forward.”
When asked if this would be a permanent change, Tomsula would not say who would be starting against the Seattle Seahawks on November 22nd. The 49ers have a bye week after they play Atlanta.
Tomsula said Gabbert is getting better every day.
“I’ve watched how he practices, his seriousness and the way he prepares every week. He’s a competitive guy. We’ve been talking about what we’ve seen preseason and practice, and we’ve seen nothing but improvement.”
Gabbert spoke later in the day and said Kaepernick has "been great".
Gabbert also said a lot has changed since he was first drafted into the NFL has a 22-year-old, and he's grown personally and professionally.
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