San Francisco 49ers

Pete Carroll on Blaine Gabbert: “He looked confident”

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, left, talks with San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The Seahawks won 20-3.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, left, talks with San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The Seahawks won 20-3. AP

SANTA CLARA -- Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday it was evident that the 49ers coaches had Blaine Gabbert well prepared for his starting debut against the Falcons earlier this month.

"I thought he looked good," Carroll said on a conference call. "He looked confident. So obviously they prepared him well. They didn't back off. They threw the ball down the field and ran their offense. So I thought they did a good job."

Sunday's game will be the first since Oct. 18, 2012 that the 49ers have faced the Seahawks without Colin Kaepernick starting at quarterback. It also will be the first time since 2005 that the Seahawks have played the 49ers without tight end Vernon Davis on the roster. The 49ers traded Davis, a first-round pick in 2006, to the Broncos earlier this month.

"Vernon was a very unique player because he was so fast," Carroll said. "And he always posed a threat to the opponent that he could get down field and strike you from anywhere. So that's an usual factor to have on your team. I know that he wasn't getting as involved lately, the last month or so. (But) he's always a threat. He's different."

The 49ers' new No. 1 tight end presumably is Garrett Celek, who caught both of Gabbert's touchdowns against the Falcons.

"Garrett getting a couple of touchdowns in a game is a pretty big deal," Carroll said. "And if that's where they're able to continue to go, that's going to be a different set of problems at the tight end spot."

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The Seahawks worked out former 49ers running back Kendall Hunter earlier this week. Asked if Hunter looked recovered from his 2014 ACL injury, Carroll said, "Yeah, I don't think he would have come in for the workout if he felt like that. We wouldn't even have wanted to work him out unless he was full (speed). He ran hard, worked hard."

The 49ers are not eligible to sign Hunter because the team did not work out an injury settlement with him within five days of placing him on injured reserve.

Jim Tomsula on Wednesday said the 49ers always have been fond of Hunter. But with so many nicks of their own at running back, they need healthier backs who are not coming back from injuries. Hunter was not 100 percent recovered from his ACL injury in the preseason.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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