Blaine Gabbert: “You just can’t press and try and force guys the ball.”


This is the transcript of Blaine Gabbert’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

What did you do over the bye week?

“I actually got a chance to go back to St. Louis. Hang out with the family a little bit. I got to see my little brother’s state semi-final game, so that was pretty fun.”


How did he do?

“He’s a freshman so he’s a backup on varsity but they won. So, they’re going to the state championship, I think, in two weeks. Yeah, so it was pretty fun.”


Does he have your size and athleticism?

“I mean, he’s 15. So, he’s got a lot of growing to do. But, I think he’s got a chance to be pretty talented.”


How many brothers do you have?

“Two little bros. 24 and Brett’s 15.”


Going into Seattle this week, I mean obviously, it’s a big environment that’s known for being loud and tough to play in. What’s the toughest stadium you’ve ever played in, be it college or in the NFL?

“I think any away stadium’s tough to play at just because it’s a hostile environment. It’s not your, kind of, your home turf. I enjoy playing on the road. It’s kind of a sweeter victory when you win on the road and makes you focus on the details, really prepare and focus on the little things throughout the week so you can go out there and execute at a high level.”


Did you spend a lot of time last week before you went to St. Louis focusing, like working on things like that that you–?

“Yeah, we started kind of before we left. We had a couple practices just to get a jump start on Seattle and kind of going into the bye week, find things that we had to focus on to go up there and play a good team. So, we’ve been working on those throughout the bye week and then so far this week.”


Head coach Jim Tomsula has made it clear to us, at least, that the starting quarterback is going to be a week-to-week decision and he’s going to think about it after every game. How do you react to that? I mean, would you rather know that you’re going to be the starter at least for the foreseeable future?

“I think the biggest think for me is I focus on this upcoming game and that’s how I approached last week and you really can’t get to far ahead of yourself, especially in the situation that we’re in. I’m focused on going out to practice today and having a good day and then really focus on the game this Sunday. Whatever happens after that will happen. But, at this point in time, I’m worried about Seattle and that’s it.”


Were you able to watch the Seattle-Cardinals game?

“Yeah, it was a great game.”


What did you take away from how that game ended defensively for Seattle’s secondary?

“They played tough the whole game and at the end, I think [Arizona Cardinals RB] Andre Ellington had a big run down the sideline to seal it. But, that was a hard fought game. It was back and forth and those are the type of games you see in this conference, especially between two teams in Arizona and Seattle. So, we’re expecting that physical type of game this week and we’re going to be ready for it.”


They haven’t allowed those type of points, passing yards in a long time, particularly at home. Do you see things that may be different with them from a defensive perspective as opposed to the last couple of years?

“No, they’ve been extremely consistent running their scheme the last three, four, five years. Arizona hit some big plays. [Arizona Cardinals QB] Carson Palmer stood in there and made some great throws. But, that’s the things that you have to do against a great defense like that. You’ve got to take your shots, take your chances when they’re there.”


What’s the key to deal with noise as a quarterback?

“Really just blocking it. It’s going to be loud, we know that. But at the same time, we have a job to do. We have to work around that and just really focus on that task at hand. In these kind of stadiums where it is extremely loud, you really have to focus one play at a time because if you don’t hear a call, you don’t hear the play, one or two guys aren’t going to be on the same page and that’s the difference between winning and losing games.”


What’s the loudest stadium you remember playing in?

“I don’t know. They’re all pretty loud. Houston can get loud when they close it in. Seattle’s loud. Indianapolis can get loud, but any NFL away stadium, especially with a conference game, is going to be a tough environment.”


Given where your career is now, do you view these opportunities with a great sense of urgency? Is it safe to say this is one of the more crucial opportunities for you and your career, especially where it is now?

“I would say it’s a great opportunity. I wouldn’t approach it any other way, but it’s a great opportunity to go out there and start again this week and play football. And I don’t take those opportunities for granted, and I’m going to enjoy them.”


You said after the Falcons game that check downs, you’ve come to realize, are not a bad thing. I mean, earlier in your career, did you feel more pressure to make great plays, make big throws, maybe force things that weren’t there?

“Yeah. I think any quarterback when you want to perform you start pressing and trying to push the ball downfield and not necessarily if it’s open or not. But, kind of as you mature playing this position and being in the NFL, you realize you just take what the defense is giving you and that way you can string drives together and execute at a higher efficiency.”


When you see their pass rush on film, how do you not get, intimidated is the wrong word, but how do you think, ‘Wow, they really get after it’?

“The thing that we do is we look at the defense as a whole. You can’t focus on a certain guy. You know who their personnel is, and you know what you have to do to execute versus that personnel. But, at the same time, you can’t let one guy kind of deter or knock your focus off of the big scheme of things. So, when you look at film, yes, they have talented guys on the defensive line. Yes, they have talented guys in the secondary. But, we’re focused on ourselves this week and want to go out there and execute at a high level.”


The last time the 49ers played Seattle, WR Torrey Smith didn’t have much production or any production as far as catches go. What do you have to do to get him, kind of, into it and get the ball into his hands in this game?

“I think the biggest thing is going out there and executing at a high level. And being a receiver, being a tight end, being a running back, the ball’s will come your way. You may have no catches one week, one catch the next week, but you could have ten catches the third week. So, the distribution will come but you just can’t press and try and force guys the ball. You just have to take what the defense is giving you.”


You say you can’t focus on one guy, but I’m just curious what you think of CB Richard Sherman’s, what he brings to that defense?

“He’s talented. He’s a cornerstone of that defense and he’s been doing it at a high level for a long time. You have to be cognizant of where he’s at on the football field because he can make plays when the ball’s in the air.”


You threw a lot of nice back shoulder throws against the Falcons. Is that something that’s kind of always been in your bag, just that throw?

“I think it’s just more of, kind of, the leverage that they were playing. They tried to stay on the high side. So, those were the throws that were open and our guys did a great job adjusting to the ball when it was in the air.”


How much more difficult is it to account for Sherman when he’s moving around the field more, covering more guys instead of staying on one side?

“You’ve just got to, kind of open up your peripheral vision a little bit and see where he’s at. You’re never really just locked in on the front and the linebackers. You’ve got to see the big picture of things and knowing the formation that you’re in, having an idea of where he could potentially line up.”

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  1. I really hope Gabbert does well.
    Actually I just hopes he survives. Last game, Bennet and Avril had uncontested runs right at Palmer.

  2. Seb,
    I actually think that Gabby will have a good game. Seattle has been our albatross for a few years now and this is the perfect game in which we could make a strong statement because Seattle is not what they once were.

    Gabbert didn’t have a mind-blowing game a couple of weeks ago, but he showed me enough good mechanics to inspire a little hope going forward.
    His quick decision making along with his quick release of the pass are positives to build on.

    I hope that Gabby becomes our version of the raiders Jim Plunkett.
    A win in Seattle will certainly point him in that direction.

    1. In the Atlanta game, even with the quick release, Gabbert was nailed and had to leave the game. Kaep was sacked 6 times last Seahawk game, because the Seahawk pass rush is light years better than Atlanta’s.

  3. When it comes to defenders like Bennet and Avril, as a QB you just have to play your game.

    It wasn’t a defensive lineman that took out Steve Young, it was DB Aeneas Williams that consequently ended Young’ career.
    Point: You must vigilant of pressure coming from anywhere on the field.
    Gabbert’ quick release will serve him well in this area.

    1. Steve Young showed every symptom of CTE, and the hit by AW was not bone jarring, but it almost killed Steve. It was like a punch drunk fighter going down after a light jab.

      1. Seb,
        Not trying to contradict, but the shot that Steve Young took from A.Williams was horrific, it was nothing resembling a light jab.

        1. Like you said, it was only a safety, who weighs 230 instead of a DL,who could weigh 310. However, I do concede that AW had a running start, hit him untouched and leveled him. Flagler totally blew his assignment, and hastened SY’s retirement.

          1. Seb,
            Thought the missed block was by Lawrence Philips.
            In any case, I still cringe when I see a replay of that massive hit. I’m amazed that Steve Young was able to walk off the field.

    2. AES, look at how much pressure a proven veteran like Palmer got from Seattle. Palmer did really well but had two strip sacks. Palmer also has the benefit of 3 great recieves in Floyd, Fitz and Brown. The quick release will help him but as many have discussed will our recievers be open or have the separation they did against the 19th ranks pass defense? Will he throw them open? If he’s a little inaccurate Chancellor, Thomas and Sherman will come up big. Also if we can’t run the ball at all. Those short routes can be jumped and Chryst needs to dial up a few plays for longer throws.

  4. I was reading up on Gabbert. He was a 5 star recruit coming out of high school and highly recruited. He wasn’t red shirted at Missouri and really only played 2 full years as a starter. He was ranked high in the 2011 draft and went early to the Jags. That year there was the lockout so he didn’t get a regular training camp but was put in early by Jacksonville. He played badly on a bad team and got hurt a few times. He was only 21 when became a NFL starter. People assume he sucks but he is pretty much the poster child for how not to start an NFL career. Bottom line is he may not be ever be great but he kind of got a raw deal on his first team, even worse than Alex Smith. Wouldn’t be shocking if he developed into a decent starter someday.

    1. 7X7ers

      No! It would not be shocking that he turns into a decent starter someday…it would be expected…He has been a better QB on the bench for 2 years than Kaepernick, but that the ‘staff’ didn’t elect to play him until now is just tomfoolishness. That he caught hell for a couple of years in Jacksonville doesn’t nearly equate what Alex Smith went through…SIX OC’s IN SIX YEARS…SIX DIFFERENT SYSTEMS IN SIX YEARS !! No, I hope that he does well enough to get us to some playoff ‘booty’…but not so good that our ‘braintrust’ decides to trade him for the rights to JaMarcus Russell….

  5. I don’t know how he’ll play in Seattle but I hope he does well. Definitely comes off as a classy guy and it would be great to see the redemption story play out in our favor. I don’t expect it but it would be nice.

  6. I’m not terribly worried about the Seattle pass rush. I know their good but our line isn’t as bad as Kaepernick made it look. Pro-Football Focus times every sack and counts every pressure. Last year the line was 16th in pressures surrendered at 33%. This year, despite all the handwringing over a ‘bad line,’ (and they are bad at run-blocking) at mid-season they were 16th at 36% pressure surrendered.

    Yet we gave up all these sacks with a ‘mobile’ QB at the helm.. It doesn’t compute. Unless you factor in the QB being mentally and physically slow (bad mechanics, long wind-up) in the pocket and lacking in pocket presence.

    Last year 29 of the 52 sacks happened at 3.6 second or later. Multiple sacks occurred when Kaepernick panicked in the pocket, pulled the ball down (instead of throwing it away) and ran into the pass rush instead of stepping up to make throw downfield.

    That’s, in my book, on the QB. You should be getting the ball out in 2.7 seconds or less on a routine basis (and lots and lots of QBs do!, including almost all the good ones). Between 2.7 and 3.9 is a bit of no-man’s land of divided blame But 3.6 seconds and later… That’s just plain criminal to blame on the line. No line in the NFL can routinely provide that kind of protection.

    Which gets me back to Gabbert. Gabbert, whatever his flaws as a QB may be, showed us one thing against Atlanta that Kaepernick could never figure out — step-up in the pocket or just get rid of ****ing ball when under pressure to avoid the sack.

    1. “That’s just plain criminal to blame on the line. No line in the NFL can routinely provide that kind of protection.”
      ~ MosesZD

      They (OL) did it in 2012 and 2013. CK had the same lax time in his release along with the same long wind-up. Difference; he also had a much better OL.
      So while I agree with the PFF numbers, I don’t necessarily agree with the “No line in the NFL can routinely provide that kind of protection” comment because when this OL was good, they did provide the protection needed for Kap to succeed.

  7. Criminal to blame the O line? Maybe you are watching a different game. There are extenuating circumstances. Many times, the WRs were not open so there was nobody to throw to. The 2014 sacks had Kaep responsible for 17 sacks. That means the O line were responsible for 35 sacks. I blame the O line more than Kaep.I blame the coaches most of all. Forcing Kaep to be only a pocket passer is like putting an Abrams tank in a pit.
    This year, I have watched the right side fail miserably many times. Do not believe me, believe the experts who rate them. Martin and Devey both are almost last at their position when compared to other players. Kaep was sacked 28 times this year, so he was on a pace to exceed the sack total of last year.
    I blame the ineptitude of the O line as a major reason Kaep got rattled and was benched.
    Criminal? The O line has led to too many jail breaks against Kaep.

  8. I hope that Gabbert does well against the Seahawks, but I can also say that I’m not holding my breath.

    1. Mid:

      I think the expectations for Gabbert have to be realistic (not saying that you aren’t being realistic). If people expect the second coming of Montana or Brady, forget it. Don’t expect error-free play, either. If he can keep us in the ball game with a decent offense, I’ll consider that good. If our defense sucks, then Gabbert shouldn’t be blamed if he can’t lead the offense to 30+ points, against a very good Seachickens’ defense, in order to win the game.

  9. wilsonm73,
    Just trying to be positive and hopeful. Even bad teams will have at least one game in which everything goes right and they end up stunning their opponent.

    We have not had that game as of yet, maybe this Sunday will provide that platform. If Gabbert can “manage” (never thought I would use that word again) the game by throwing outlet passes to his RB’s, TE’s with the occasional 20-25 yrd pass to the WR’s who knows?
    Can somebody please let Jimmy T know that Bruce Miller can be an effective weapon when used.
    Maybe we can keep it close enough to have a shot in the 4th qtr.

    1. If the Texans can beat Cincy, the Niners can beat a 4-5 team.
      I concur, Bruce Miller could be the X factor, if he manages to hold onto the ball and the coaches utilizes his strengths.

    2. Sorry AES. I don’t have much hope in our team right now. Everything could go right for us, any given Sunday right? Even Grant’s article sounded somewhat hopeful on the other thread.

      Let’s see how it goes.

  10. wilsonm73,
    I understand your apprehension but at some point we need to get the seahags yoke off of our shoulders.
    And as it has turned out, it’s now the Cardinals we will have to overcome to win our division.
    So if we can’t conquer the Seattle ownage we will be fighting the Rams for a 3rd or last place finish for years to come.

    Current standings:
    Arizona Cardinals 7 – 2
    St. Louis Rams 4 – 5
    Seattle Seahawks 4 – 5
    San Francisco 49ers 3 – 6

    So beating Seattle with a 2nd string QB, possibly star RB out, and our No.1 WR not at 100% can make a resounding psychological statement for the 49ers in finally turning the corner on this team.
    It’s a long shot, but I’m hoping against hope to see Seattle’ rule come to a crashing end.

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