49ers training camp preview: Quarterbacks

49ers training camp preview: Quarterbacks
July 18, 2014, 11:45 am
Share This Post

Colin Kaepernick's 524 rushing yards last season were the second most in 49ers single-season history behind Steve Young's 537 yards in 1992. (AP)

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco will be providing position-by-position breakdowns each day leading up to 49ers training camp. The full squad will report on July 23, with the first practice day scheduled for July 24. This morning, Matt focuses on the quarterbacks.

Who they have: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Kory Faulker.

Who they lost: Colt McCoy.

Looking back: Kaepernick took every meaningful snap last season. The 49ers' clear objective during the regular season was to limit the risk of injury to their franchise quarterback. The 49ers ranked 30th in the NFL with just 186.2 yards passing per game, though Kaepernick was ninth in the league with 7.0 yards per attempt.

After a midseason slump, Kaepernick picked it up late in the season. About the only offense the 49ers were able to generate in the NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks came on designed quarterback runs. Kaepernick gained 130 yards on 11 rushing attempts.

In the regular season, he threw for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns – the highest totals for a 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia threw for 3,344 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2002 en route to the Pro Bowl. Kaepernick’s passer rating of 91.6 was the highest for a full-time 49ers quarterback since Garcia’s 94.8 rating in 2001.

And Kaepernick was also the second-most successful running quarterback in franchise history. He gained 524 yards and four touchdowns on 92 rushing attempts. Steve Young is the only 49ers quarterback to gain more rushing yards in a season. He had 537 yards in 1992.

Overall outlook: Kaepernick has a new contract and more options at wide receiver than a year ago. He should benefit from a second season with Anquan Boldin and a healthy Michael Crabtree. Quinton Patton, in his second NFL season, as well as Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Bruce Ellington should give the 49ers a better stable of wideouts. However, there is uncertainty with one of Kaepernick’s favorite targets, tight end Vernon Davis, who could be a holdout.

Camp competition: Gabbert, acquired in a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars, appears entrenched as the backup quarterback. Then, the 49ers have to determine whether to keep a third quarterback on the 53-man roster. Johnson will have to earn it. Bethel-Thompson and Faulkner could be competing for a possible opening on the practice squad.