Coach Jim Tomsula, who always has been quick to support 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this season, was notably noncommittal Monday when asked whether Kaepernick would start Sunday against the Falcons.
“We’re evaluating everything right now, we’re in the middle of it right now,” Tomsula said, one of three times he declined to back Kaepernick.
That’s a far cry from what he said Oct. 23 after the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks. “Colin is our quarterback,” Tomsula said then. “There’s no controversies.”
It doesn’t sound as if players would resist a change at any spot, including the most important one on the team.
We’re evaluating everything right now; we’re in the middle of it right now. … Colin (Kaepernick) didn’t play good enough; neither did the team. The San Francisco 49ers didn’t play good enough.
49ers coach Jim Tomsula
“It needs a jolt, and it needs it from every position,” fullback Bruce Miller said. “I know that we can play better at all 11 spots, and until we do that and play together as a group, I think it’s fair to say that every position is under review.”
Kaepernick has started every game for the 49ers since he replaced Alex Smith on Nov. 19, 2012. If he doesn’t start, the job would go to backup Blaine Gabbert, whose last start was Oct. 6, 2013, for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Kaepernick entered Sunday’s game against the Rams without his most trusted target, receiver Anquan Boldin, and ended it without the team’s top three running backs, Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush and Mike Davis, all of whom are hurt. The 49ers’ tailbacks combined for 10 rushing yards Sunday; Kaepernick had 28.
Tomsula said Monday he wasn’t “looking for excuses.”
“Colin didn’t play good enough, neither did the team,” Tomsula said. “The San Francisco 49ers didn’t play good enough.”
Kaepernick didn’t throw an interception against the Rams, his fourth straight game without a turnover. Still, he made mistakes, including when he failed to see that wideout Torrey Smith was open on a first-down play from San Francisco’s 3-yard line. Kaepernick’s 78.8 passer rating is one of the worst among starting quarterbacks.
Tomsula has resisted using Gabbert this season, even during the biggest blowout losses. But with the 49ers (2-6) four games behind in the division race and with the bye week beginning in seven days, a move may be in the offing. The 49ers host Atlanta (6-2) on Sunday.
The 49ers can part ways with Kaepernick without any major contract repercussions if they do so before April 1. That theoretically will give them an opportunity to evaluate free agents and draft picks and make a plan at the position. Evaluating Gabbert may be part of that plan.
Kaepernick said he has not met with anyone in the 49ers’ front office to discuss his future.
“To me, I’m doing everything I can to win games,” Kaepernick said. “Whether they make that change or not is their decision. But I’ll give this team everything I have every week.”
Kaepernick said his contract does not weigh on his mind.
“I play this game because I love it,” he said. “I don’t play this game for the money. I’ll be fine without football if that ever came about. But I give everything I have to this game. That’s not my incentive or motivation to play.”