49ers Mailbag II: Gabbert's status, Culliver's spot safe?

49ers Mailbag II: Gabbert's status, Culliver's spot safe?
August 14, 2014, 1:00 pm
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Something fairly dramatic would have to occur for him not to break camp as the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback.
Matt Maiocco on Blaine Gabbert

The 49ers set out to upgrade at backup quarterback when they let Colt McCoy walk as a free agent and acquired Blaine Gabbert in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The 49ers never found out what McCoy could do in a regular-season game because Colin Kaepernick remained healthy for the entire season. Gabbert was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 draft. The 49ers were hoping they could coax that talent out of him.

The backup quarterback situation leads off another edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Blaine Gabbert has been nothing short of awful, so is Josh Johnson the favorite for the backup QB role? (Jeremy Wohlfart)
First off, Gabbert has not been awful – unless you’re basing his entire offseason on what you saw in the first half of the game Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens.

During the majority of the practices, Gabbert has looked solid. He has not been consistently great, mind you, but solid.

He remains the clear favorite for the backup job. In fact, something fairly dramatic would have to occur for him not to break camp as the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback.

[REWIND: Gabbert, 49ers offense strive for better consistency]

The 49ers made quite an investment to acquire Gabbert. Yes, they gave up a sixth-round draft pick. That’s not a big deal. But the 49ers also picked up the final year of Gabbert’s rookie contract, which includes a fully guaranteed salary of more than $2 million.

It’s possible the 49ers will keep only two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster this season – like they did for the final part of last season. And it’s very hard to believe that Gabbert will not be one of them.

As for Johnson, he is trying to distinguish himself, too. He has bounced around the league with Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Cincinnati the past three seasons -- and that includes an offseason with the 49ers in 2012 before getting cut. He faces another uphill struggle to win a job with the 49ers.

Is there any chance Dontae Johnson and Chris Cook steal the starting spot from Culliver? (Jason Zawrotnaik)
The 49ers’ starting cornerbacks appear set with Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver. When they’ve been healthy, they’ve looked like starting cornerbacks.

Johnson is a rookie who is still finding his way. Cook has experienced a good camp, but he’s been a little up and down.

The 49ers appear to have pretty good depth at cornerback. Perrish Cox has put together a strong camp, and Darryl Morris looks to be on solid ground for a roster spot due to his contributions on special teams.

Rookie Kenneth Acker, a sixth-round draft pick from SMU, had his best day on the practice field on Wednesday. He’s quietly put together a strong camp, but there was nothing quiet about his two-interception performance heading into the team’s day off.