SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers switched quarterbacks Tuesday, going from Blaine Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick, which was the reverse of last year’s move. Here’s what both players had to say. Transcripts were provided by the 49ers.
What is your reaction to the move that was made today?
“It’s a tough deal, but a change is made like that, it’s what the coaches felt best for this team. It sucks. I don’t like it. I don’t like not playing. I’ll be very forward about that. But, at the same time I’m still going to come into work the same way I’ve always come into work the three years that I’ve been here. Put my best foot forward. Still continue to prepare. I’m not going to slack on the film work just because I’m not playing. That’s not how I am as a person. That’s not how I’m going to approach this situation. So, moving forward, I’m going to still prepare the same, be the same guy in the locker room, lead these guys and just keep chipping away.”
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When you look back at the last five games, are there things that you wish you had done differently--?
“Yeah, hindsight is always 20-20 especially in this game that we play. The quarterback is under such a microscope. But, yeah, there’s always going to be throws you want back, always going to be decisions you want back. I can honestly say I played hard, gave it my best shot. I wasn’t good enough. We didn’t win enough football games. We didn’t score enough points on the offensive side of the ball and that’s the way it goes. It’s a tough situation and [head] coach [Chip] Kelly had to make a call.”
Is five games enough for a quarterback to really show--?
“You never know. I can’t answer that question. I just know that I didn’t do enough in five games to keep the starting job. That’s just the way it goes. It’s a performance-based business and if you’re not performing at the highest level you know you’re not going to play. That’s just kind of the way the cookie crumbles almost.”
So, how will you support QB Colin Kaepernick?
“Like I said, I’m going to continue to prepare the same way I have in the three years that I’ve been here. That’s the only way I know how is just to continue to work hard, still go through my weekly preparations as if I was a starter. That’s how I go. [New Orleans Saints QB] Luke McCown taught me that as a rookie. You prepare the same way week-in and week-out because you never know when you’re going to play and that’s really the thing that you can fall back on late in the season is your routine, what you know, kind of in your daily routine.”
When did you find out?
“This morning. Good news to wake up to.”
Is there anything you can do to help support your replacement, because you’ve had five games already?
“Like I said, I’m going to continue to prepare the way I know how to prepare and whatever I can do to help this team I’m going to do. But, like I said, I’m going to stick to my routine, stick to the way I watch film, the way I practice and just keep to that.”
Even in practice, as if you are a starter, nothing changes? You’re going to practice as if you are the starter and keep the mindset?
“Yeah, you have to. That’s the way the quarterback position is in the NFL because you’re always one play away and you’ve still have to approach each practice rep like a piece of gold. You’re not going to be getting the bulk of the reps, but at the same time you’ve just got to make the most of the reps that you do get.”
Have you spent the last few days studying Buffalo?
“Yeah, I was catching up on film, doing the normal film study. But, like I said, that doesn’t change. My film study and my preparation throughout the week, it doesn’t change whether I’m the one or the two. That’s how I’ve always been. I’m not going to slack whatsoever in how I prepare for this football team, how I watch this film, how I get myself ready to play a game. That’s never going to change as long as I’m playing.”
Did you have a feeling these last few weeks that you had to kind of look over your shoulder and that Kap was kind of lingering there?
“No, you’re never going to play your best ball when you’re looking over your shoulder. This game is tough enough to begin with and if you’re playing like that, that’s not a recipe to be successful. That definitely wasn’t the case at all the first five games of the year.”
We’ve seen you make every throw. We’ve seen you make some extremely difficult throws the past few weeks. Why do you feel you struggled a bit to make them consistently?
“Yeah, it’s the consistency factor. That’s something that we’re always striving to be more and more consistent drive-in and drive-out, game-in and game-out. You get consistent with reps and just happens to be I got five games, didn’t make the most of the reps and that’s kind of the way it is.”
QB Colin Kaepernick
Can you just talk about the interaction you had with head coach Chip Kelly and what your reaction was when he told you that you’d be starting?
“Had a brief conversation before we got going to practice. Told me I was up this week. Excited about it. Ready to go. Hoping I can bring more to this team and try to get us a win this Sunday.”
How do you feel physically?
“Good. I’m ready to go, especially we had a few days off. So, back at it getting ready.”
You spoke to us in June about perhaps changing some things about your physique and maybe not being as bulky as you’ve been. Is that still the plan? I mean, are you going to be the same physically now as you were last year at this time?
“My biggest thing is trying to focus on strength and making sure I’m physically ready to play. Whether that means my weight’s higher or lower, I don’t think that’s a huge deal. More so where my strength is at and I feel very comfortable with that.”
Will the game this weekend be an extra adrenaline rush for you in comparison to previous games?
“I don’t know about extra adrenaline rush, but I’ll be excited to be back out there, go out there and fight with my teammates and try to get this win. I’m excited about it.”
Are you 100-percent?
“Yes. One hundred-percent, ready to go.”
You’ve been wearing a tinted visor. Is that something that’s been approved yet by the NFL and why were you wearing that in practice if it’s not approved yet?
“I’ve been wearing it in practice for, I mean, since the spring. So, I’ve been wearing it for a long time. Hasn’t been officially approved. So, still working on that.”
How was practice today? WR Torrey Smith said you guys were in a pretty good rhythm offensively and obviously getting more reps than you had in weeks past.
“Yeah. It was great to be back out there, start to get that timing down, get ready for this Sunday’s game. Hopefully we can make some things happen.”
There was a report that you and the team were trying to rework your contract to get you back on the field. Did something like that happen?
“We have had conversations. Really don’t want to get into details about that, but those conversations have gone on.”
Chip said this is a football decision. Do you think because those things happened, that maybe there were some business elements at play as to why you weren’t playing?
“I really don’t know. You’d have to ask the people upstairs about that. My biggest thing is focusing on football and trying to do what I can to help this team win.”
Has that been resolved, the contract stuff?
“We’re still in discussions.”
Can you comment on the support you’re receiving both for on the field and off the field things? Last weekend, fans chanting for you to come in had to feel pretty good and then just last night there was a lady who took a knee who sang the anthem at the Kings game in support of you.
“I think that’s huge. I think people are realizing the injustices and the oppression that’s taking place in this country and it’s something that needs to be addressed. I think it’d have a huge impact on a lot of people’s lives and that’s ultimately what the goal is to affect this country and those people positively. As far as on the football field, I’m excited to be back out there. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to be out there with my teammates and fight with them and try to get this win this Sunday. I’m ready.”
A couple weeks ago, you offered your thoughts on the presidential race. I assume you’ve seen this new presidential candidate Donald Trump tape and he says it was locker room talk. You’ve been in a lot of locker rooms in your life. Do you think it was locker room talk?
“I haven’t heard our locker room talk like that. So, I can’t speak for other ones. But, I’ll leave that to them in deciding what’s appropriate, what’s not. I don’t agree with it.”
Has your position changed as it relates to the political candidates?
When you look at the offense, particularly during this four-game losing streak, what do you think the offense was missing?
“I think there’s just small things here and there that we need to clean up, we need to correct as a whole. Hopefully those are things that we progress on this week and it shows Sunday and helps us get a win.”
Do you think you’re a more confident quarterback? Some of your teammates say they’ve just seen you act differently in the locker room. Do you think that will translate to the field?
“I think I’ve always been confident. It’s something that I’m ready to step on that field, I’m ready to play. It’s been about a year since live game action. So, I’m itching to get out there.”
Torrey said he thought you were happier this year but said to ask you why you might be happier. Why do you think you’re happier?
“I think I’ve always been happy, but more than anything, I’m comfortable. I’m at peace with myself, with my relationships and with everything that’s going on in my life. So, I think that reflects and I think that’s what he’s referring to.”
Do you view the rest of this season as a big chance for your career, to relaunch your career?
“It’s a great opportunity to go out and win some games. That’s ultimately what the goal is. We’re going to focus on the Buffalo Bills this week.”
Regarding the contract and possible restructuring of that, is the ball kind of in your court as far as if you want to sign that?
“Once again, not going to get into details on that. We have had discussions.”
Do you feel like you’ve grown as a leader? You’ve become this national spokesperson and been so elegant about it. But, do you think you have this locker room as going out in a football way now that you’re a better leader?
“That’s a better question for my teammates. For me, I try to carry myself confidently and appropriately whatever environment I’m in and hopefully that reflects and my teammates feel that way and they feel that I can lead this team to a victory.”
A few weeks ago you talked about all the mail you’ve received and I guess some of the mail was negative but I gathered most of it has been positive. Are you still receiving like an avalanche of mail and what do the letters say?
“A lot of mail has come in. I really don’t spend too much time going through it. I still have a job to do, still have to focus on football and spend most of my time doing that. So, that’s where my focus is.”
A lot of people have said that they believe you’re a good fit for Chip Kelly’s offense. Now that you’ve been in it for a little while, are there things that you see that make you a good fit, that you are excited about playing in it particularly?
“Yeah. I think there’s a lot of great things this offense does and allows the quarterback to do. Like I’ve said in the past, it’s similar to things I’ve done in college and that makes me feel very comfortable in it.”
Is there value to you having that start under your belt in Week 4 of the preseason, getting to play an entire first half?
“Yeah, I think there is. It’s always an advantage when you can step on the field in the system and get those reps. So, hopefully that transfers to this game this week and shows.”
Where do you see yourself a year from now? I know it’s a lot to take in.
“I have no idea. My focus right now is the Buffalo Bills. I’m not thinking a year out right now.”
Are you able to draw on your past road experience? You’ve gotten some big road wins. Going into Buffalo for the first time, are you going to be able to draw on those?
“You can always look at the past and you have that frame of reference of victories and things to build on. But, you have to treat this as a separate entity and go out there and try to win this one.”
I think you wanted another contract question. So, do you feel any sort of pressure to have a reworked contract before you start a game?
“No. I feel no pressure.”