After watching Blaine Gabbert lead the 49ers to a 28-0 win over the Rams on Monday Night Football, Steve Young called him one of the top five athletes playing quarterback today.
Really? Blaine Gabbert?
“He’s definitely in the discussion,” Bleacher Report NFL analyst Chris Simms said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “There’s no doubt about that. Right off the bat, Cam Newton. Even before this injury, I would take (RG3) in a race over Blaine Gabbert, but it would be closer than people realize. Tyrod Taylor is in that discussion for sure. Russell Wilson is for sure. Marcus Mariota is in that discussion. And there’s two guys I think we’re forgetting about: Andrew Luck, who ran a 4.59 at the NFL combine, and then maybe Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is as good a scrambler as I’ve seen in football. It wasn’t a crazy comment. There’s no doubt about it. If you’ve seen him in person, he’s a big guy, he’s a very good-looking athlete, he has an arm where the ball pops off his hands, and as you saw last night, he can run. I don’t think he’s as fast as Colin Kaepernick when Colin Kaepernick is healthy, but he is in the discussion.”
Gabbert went 22-of-35 for 170 yards and a touchdown on Monday. He also ran nine times for 43 yards. It was a solid game.
But it was far from perfect.
“Blaine was definitely a little erratic,” Simms said. “Was I blown way by Blaine Gabbert’s performance? Of course not. He did miss some throws, there’s no doubt about that, but they won the football game. He played smart football, for the most part. He probably could have thrown a pick or two, there’s no doubt about that as well. But also in his defense, there aren’t a whole lot of weapons in the pass game out there in San Francisco. There’s nobody keeping defensive coordinators up at night going, ‘Oh man, we got to double-team Jeremy Kerley.’”
Case Keenum, meanwhile, struggled mightily against the 49ers. He finished 17-of-35 for 130 yards and two picks.
San Francisco dared Keenum to make NFL throws all night – and he couldn’t do it. Only one Rams receiver, Kenny Britt, had at least 25 receiving yards.
“It’s one of the worst offenses in football, plain and simple,” Simms said. “They don’t even know how to use a guy like Tavon Austin. He’s in such a bad spot. He’s a slot receiver. He should be used like a Wes Welker, a Julian Edelman, a Percy Harvin when he was in his prime, and they just don’t have the inventory of offense to use him the proper way. So that is the big issue there. I would say more than half the league really wouldn’t want Case Keenum to be their backup quarterback, let alone their starting quarterback. I think a lot oft teams would evaluate Case Keenum and go, ‘He’s a good No. 3. We’d like to have him on the roster as a no. 3.’ And here he is starting and the No. 1 pick is not even dressing for games. It has to be concerning.”
After the game, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said that Keenum would remain the starter ahead of Sean Mannion, which may or may not be a political play. Keenum might not deserve the starting job, but if Mannion plays well, it might delay Jared Goff’s eventual debut.
“They’re going to have to continue to reevaluate that situation,” Simms said. “And I don’t care who’s in at quarterback there. The offense just doesn’t do enough there to be quarterback friendly in general.”
While Goff sat and watched, Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, led the Eagles to a 29-10 win over the Browns. He finished 22-of-37 for 278 yards and two touchdowns and looked solid throughout.
Simms wasn’t surprised.
“It was never a question between Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, in my opinion,” he said. “Carson Went was clearly the more physically gifted player, athlete, every facet possible, had less NFL talent around him. Jared Goff had three receivers and a tight end that are all in the NFL right now. I don’t think people realize that. I never understood the Jared Goff love affair. He was certainly a first-round quarterback, but I would go as far to say Jared Goff is probably the least talented first pick of the draft that I can remember.”