This is my Sunday column.
Twelve reasons to root for the Bears Sunday if you’re a 49ers fan:
Reason No. 1. The Niners front office may start thinking Blaine Gabbert is the franchise quarterback if he beats Chicago, and may decide against taking a quarterback in the first few rounds of the upcoming draft. This is very bad thinking. See reason No. 2.
Reason No. 2. Gabbert is not the franchise quarterback — he’s a game manager with a strong arm who throws too many picks and is inaccurate more than 10 yards downfield. Ideally, he’s a backup. The Niners need to draft a quarterback in the first round.
Reason No. 3. If the season ended right now, the 49ers would have the fifth pick in the draft after the Titans, the Browns, the Chargers and the Cowboys. Of those four teams, the Browns and Cowboys need quarterbacks just as desperately as the Niners. The Rams and Eagles also need quarterbacks, and each team has only one more win than the Niners. If San Francisco wins on Sunday and falls behind either the Rams or Eagles in the draft order, the Niners could miss out on every quarterback who’s worth a first-round draft pick.
Reason No. 4. Only three quarterbacks seem worth first-round picks: Paxton Lynch from Memphis, Connor Cook from Michigan state and Jared Goff from Cal, if he declares for the draft, and it seems he will. His head coach, Sonny Dykes, is interviewing for other jobs, and no quality quarterback wants a new coach and a new system his final season in college. Goff, Lynch and Cook all could get taken within the top five picks. They are three of the best prospects in the draft. The Niners don’t want to be on the outside looking in when they get taken.
Reason No. 5. After those three quarterbacks, most of the top prospects, like Carson Wentz from North Dakota State or Cardale Jones from Ohio State, are long-term projects who will be backups for a few seasons. The 49ers can’t afford to wait for them to develop.
Reason No. 6: The rest of the top quarterbacks, like Cody Kessler from USC or Kevin Hogan from Stanford, are guys who will be backups their entire careers.
Reason No. 7. The Niners don’t have a coach who can develop a long-term quarterback project, nor a general manager who can identify a long-term quarterback project worth developing.
Reason No. 8. The Niners’ front office may start talking itself into keeping head coach Jim Tomsula for another season if San Francisco beats Chicago. It’s not in the front office’s interest to fire Tomsula after just one season and admit his hiring was a mistake to begin with. The front office needs any excuse it can find to keep him around. Plus, he comes cheap and the front office likes that.
Reason No. 9. Keeping Tomsula around another season just would delay his inevitable firing by a year at most. Tomsula is a bad head coach no matter how many chances he gets to prove otherwise. No other team in the NFL would hire him to be anything other than a defensive line coach.
Reason No. 10. Firing Tomsula during or after next season would set back whichever quarterback the Niners end up drafting this offseason. Changing coaches and offensive systems early in a quarterback’s career is a sure-fire way to turn him into the next Blaine Gabbert. With a loss to the Bears, Tomsula and offensive coordinator Geep Chryst would be less likely to coach whichever quarterback the Niners end up drafting this offseason.
Reason No. 11. With a loss to the Bears, Trent Baalke would be less likely to choose which quarterback the Niners end up drafting this offseason.
Reason No. 12. With a loss to the Bears, 49ers fans would be more likely to fly another banner over a home game urging team CEO Jed York to step down.
Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him firstname.lastname@example.org.