When four-time Super Bowl winning QB Joe Montana talks people listen and QB Blaine Gabbert is no different. Montana had some words of advice for the 49ers front office as Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News caught up with the Hall of Fame quarterback.
“I think he’s done a great job going in under the circumstances, where the team is and how many people they’ve lost to injuries,” Montana told the Sporting News. “Some people would say it’s easier because you’re losing and there’s only upside, but there’s still a lot of pressure to perform when you go in. When you make a change like that, you expect the backup to play well.”
Gabbert, who was named the starting quarterback as QB Colin Kaepernick was benched –has since guided the team to a .500 record under his four starts including respectable statistics including a 63 percent completion rate, 963 passing yards and five touchdowns.
However, Gabbert’s arm and poise aren’t the only thing that Montana has been impressed with as he talks about Gabbert’s legs.
“He has the athleticism to make defenses think about his running,” Montana said. “If things break down, he can still get out of trouble and make plays downfield, not only with his arm, but his legs, too.”
To Gabbert’s credit he has recorded 19 rushes for 140 rushing yards and one touchdown.
However, should the 49ers sign Gabbert to a longer extension or should they let him test free-agency when he becomes an unrestricted free-agent? Montana was adamant as he believes the 49ers front office should lock him up long-term.
“He’s definitely some you need to keep around,” Montana said. “He’s proved he can not only play at the level to win games, but also in that offense. That’s key in proving his worth to the team. I don’t know what will happen with Colin or what their plans are with him, but at this point at time, I don’t think you let Blaine get away.”
Does that mean that Montana has all but given up on Kaepernick? Not so fast my friend (Lee Corso voice).
“I think it’s a matter of what happens with Colin when he comes back from his surgery,” Montana said. “They’ll probably take it from there, first to see how he’s recovering with that shoulder and see how it still may affect his throwing, and whether it also did in the past. I’m not just sure how they’re going to view it.”
Two weeks ago, I went on 95.7 The Game and was asked if I thought Gabbert was good enough to take the 49ers to the playoffs. My answer was simple, yes! Maybe not this season but definitely next year. We will just have to wait and see how the roster shapes up as the offensive line and wide-receiver position need to be addressed heading into the off-season.