There will be no shakeup when it comes to the 49ers’ quarterback rotation Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Jim Harbaugh said Friday. Blaine Gabbert will be the second quarterback to enter the game, just as he was in the preseason opener in Baltimore.
“Very pleased with the job Blaine Gabbert’s doing,” Harbaugh said.
Gabbert completed only three of his 11 pass attempts last week against the Ravens, tossed an interception on an underthrown pass and left the game with a 1.7 passer rating.
Asked after the game whether the No. 2 quarterback job was up grabs, Harbaugh said, “I think on our team there are some spots up for grabs in the backup, in the depth area.”
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On Friday, Harbaugh said he had been speaking broadly about the roster, not the quarterback position. And he threw his support to Gabbert, whom the 49ers acquired in a trade this offseason and who will make $2 million this year whether he’s on the team or not.
“He had a couple of very good throws,” Harbaugh said. “He missed a couple, as we said right after the game. It was a good first step, and he’s continuing to compete well. I thought he did in the game and continued to do that in the process of the preseason and training camp. Feel good about the way he’s coming along.”
Josh Johnson was the third quarterback in the game, finishing 6 of 8 for 63 yards and a 97.4 passer rating. None of the backups, including the fourth player in, McLeod Bethel Thompson, engineered a scoring drive.
Harbaugh said the plan going into Sunday’s game will be the same as it was against the Ravens. Colin Kaepernick and the starting offense had a seven-play drive that ended in a field goal on the opening possession and were on the sideline from that point on.
Lattimore waits – Harbaugh said he recently received a “good report” on running back Marcus Lattimore from the two people in charge of his rehabilitation. But Lattimore is not yet ready to join his teammates in practice.
“He’s been doing well,” Harbaugh said. “There’s been gains, but that’s where we’re at – not quite there yet.”
Lattimore was placed on the non-football injury list before training camp began, and he’s been working with members of the strength and conditioning staff on a side field each day this summer. The former South Carolina star is still coming back from a gruesome knee injury suffered in October 2012 with the Gamecocks, and he spent all of last year on San Francisco’s NFI list.
Lattimore took part in the 49ers’ spring sessions but suffered a hamstring strain at one point that kept him from playing at full speed. The team’s top running backs currently are Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde and Jewel Hampton. LaMichael James recently returned to practice after suffering a dislocated elbow.
Asked if Lattimore was destined for a second straight season on an injury list, Harbaugh said, “I wouldn’t make any assumptions. He’s making gains every day.”
Crabtree returns – Michael Crabtree went through his first full practice since July 30 and spoke to reporters for the first time this offseason.
The wide receiver averaged an impressive 61 passing yards in the eight games he played last year after returning from an Achilles’ injury suffered in May. But he said he never felt like himself until this offseason.
Crabtree said he weighed nearly 230 pounds in his first games back. His ideal playing weight is about 215 pounds.
“I wasn’t 100 percent last year, but this year is a different story,” he said.