New coach Chip Kelly has assured that there will be a fair competition between Gabbert and Kaepernick for the 49ers’ starting job.
“All I’ve heard is that Chip has told me it’s going to be a competition … and to come in and be ready to compete,” Kaepernick said in June. “That’s my mindset, and I’m excited to do that.”
One rival defensive coordinator has predicted that Kaepernick will be a “nightmare” in Kelly’s offense, which is ideally suited to the athletic quarterback’s skill set.
To be fair, though, Kelly has astutely pointed out that Gabbert’s underappreciated athleticism also “jumped out” in offseason practices.
It might take until the third preseason game before a heavy favorite emerges as the Week 1 starter.
New York’s best fit: WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, No. 40 overall
Statistics can be bent in any which way to prove a point but consider this — Odell Beckham, Jr.’s 96 catches a season ago nearly doubled the 59 grabbed by running back Shane Vereen, who finished second on the club in receptions. The disparity is just as bad in receiving yards and touchdowns, where OBJ recorded 1,450 and 13 scores, with Rueben Randle finishing with a respectable (but hardly frightening) 797 yards and eight touchdowns.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Randle has the size and build-up speed to give Eli Manning a quality threat on the perimeter to complement Beckham but the club needed to find another interior threat with Victor Cruz’s salsa losing its rhythm the past two seasons.
Josh Gordon won’t be ready for training camp.
The Cleveland Browns on Tuesday placed their back-from-suspension wideout on the active/non-football injury list after Gordon hurt his quadriceps while working out on his own this summer, per the team’s official website. Gordon is expected to miss “at least a couple of weeks,” according to the Browns.
With this year’s NFL Draft in the past, teams have the opportunity to add veteran help to address areas of need. But the ability to sign quality veterans who remain on the market is in part dictated by the salary cap space each team possesses.
There are fewer teams with challenging salary cap situations because the annual growth in the cap has been around eight percent over the last couple of years and unused cap room can be carried over from one year to the next. Despite this, those teams that have pushed the envelope may not be immune from decisions somewhat dictated by the cap.