Blaine Gabbert may have ended the 2015 season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback and begun the 2016 campaign in the same spot. But for the start of training camp, he and Colin Kaepernick are on even footing.
“We’re going to split it right down the middle,” coach Chip Kelly said when asked before Sunday’s practice about dividing the repetitions during team-wide drills. “So I think we’ve got 24 reps today with the ones. So (Kaepernick) will get 12 of those, and he’ll get 12 reps with the twos.”
The practice even ended in a tie with Gabbert – the first quarterback to take the field in team sessions – and Kaepernick each completing seven mostly short and intermediate throws to receivers and running backs.
The biggest quarterback news was that Kaepernick seemed to have regained the weight he lost during his lengthy rehabilitation from shoulder, knee and thumb surgeries. He said he spent the month and half since the team’s June minicamp eating and hitting the weight room.
He said he never stepped on a scale during his lowest points because he didn’t want to know exactly how much he’d lost.
“I don’t look like my high school self anymore,” Kaepernick said. “I feel like I look more like an adult now.”
Kelly wouldn’t put a timeline on the competition. After all, Sunday was the first time he’s seen Kaepernick fully healthy.
“The great part about it is I think we’re confident in both those guys,” he said. “It’s good to have two. In my three years (in the NFL), we’ve had to play two quarterbacks every year. So it’s a good situation to be in.”
Baalke’s gamble – General manager Trent Baalke said it was his idea to promote Tom Gamble to assistant general manager, a move announced Monday, and that the media speculation the promotion triggered was expected.
“I don’t live in a cave,” Baalke said. “I think I understood exactly what was going to happen. And that should show you even more that I don’t care.”
Baalke said he has wanted to promote Gamble to that position for some time. However, Gamble left the 49ers to take a job with the Eagles from 2013 to 2014 and returned to the 49ers only last season.
While in Philadelphia, Gamble worked closely with then-Eagles coach Kelly. That cozy relationship led to Gamble being let go and fueled the speculation that, should the 49ers struggle this season, he could wind up with Baalke’s job.
Baalke acknowledged that he was on the proverbial “hot seat.”
“Sometimes it’s a little hotter than others, but this is a performance-based business,” he said. “You’re here to win.”
Lynch speaks – Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch said his four-game suspension to start the season is because of an “unreadable specimen” on a drug test from drinking too much water. He said he tried to appeal the ruling but lost.
Lynch, drafted in the fifth round in 2014, already was in the NFL’s drug testing program when he entered the league because of issues in college.
Lynch is allowed to practice in full and participate in the team’s preseason games.
He said NaVorro Bowman, Antoine Bethea – and especially Baalke – have been supportive throughout.
“They haven’t given up on me,” he said. “They’ve been amazing.”
Et cetera – Safety Jaquiski Tartt suffered a minor leg injury while training recently and will begin camp on the non-football injury list. Tartt is not expected to be out for long.
▪ Defensive end Glenn Dorsey (ACL) is not on an injury list but will be eased back into practice, Kelly said. Dorsey, the most veteran defensive lineman on the team, spent large portions of Sunday’s session working with the team’s medical staff.
▪ Third-round draft pick Will Redmond, who suffered an ACL injury in college, participated in Sunday’s practice. He lined up as a nickel cornerback with the second-team defense.