When the 49ers traded for Blaine Gabbert in March, it was with the hope that the young quarterback could regain the form that seemed to erode during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Niners believed Gabbert would be an upgrade as a backup behind starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Just last week, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media that Gabbert was “showing all signs of developing quite rapidly and executing very well.”
“He is a high-character individual that will be given every opportunity to develop within our system and we are looking forward to working with him,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke.
Five months later, it appears there’s still plenty of work left to be done.
In his first game action for his new team, Gabbert looked like the same QB who lost his job in Jacksonville.
Coming on in relief of Kaepernick early in Thursday night’s opening exhibition game, a 23-3 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore, Gabbert completed just 3-of-11 passes for 20 yards and threw an interception – his bane with the Jaguars. A pass intended for tight end Derek Carrier was picked off by Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson.
In 2013, Gabbert had one TD pass and seven interceptions in just three games.
Tweeted Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, after Gabbert’s pick: “Blaine Gabbert pass intercepted – hmm, saw that a few times in Jacksonville.”
Niners fans were far more harsh after watching their new No. 2 quarterback lay an egg.
Among their tweets:
“Blaine Gabbert about to pull a David Blaine and disappear from the NFL.”
“Saying Blaine Gabbert sucks is like saying the the Hindenburg overheated a little bit.”
“Retweet if you can throw a football better than Blaine Gabbert.”
“Blaine Gabbert has to be the coolest dude on Earth, because it isn’t his ability to play that keeps him on a team.”
Yet, it was just one preseason outing. The 49ers still have plenty of time to see how he rebounds over the next three games before the regular season opens Sept. 7.
But for a guy hoping to re-start his career and instill confidence in his coaches and teammates, Thursday night’s performance was dismal.