Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu spoke with Bay Area reporters on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. Here are selected quotes.
Q: Does the 49ers’ offense look different now that Blaine Gabbert is running it?
MATHIEU: Yeah, it does. Not to take anything away from Kaepernick, but it seems like Gabbert has a little bit better grip on what’s going on. If he gets in a situation, he knows where the ball needs to go. He’s a hell of a passer. I think he’s underrated when you talk about how well he can throw the football. And obviously he had 40 something yards last week against the Seahawks running the ball. I think he gives them a better option going forward. It seems like the wide receivers are more involved. It looks like they’re doing alright.
Q: Do you think you’ll be able to bait Gabbert into certain throws like you were able to do with Kaepernick earlier this season?
MATHIEU: No, I don’t think so. It seems like he takes care of the football way better. If he gets in a situation where he feels pressure, he’s not just going to give the defense an opportunity to make a play. They run a lot of boots, a lot of different things with him to get him on the edge. It seems like he can run the ball pretty well from the times I’ve seen him run it. It seems like he has a pretty nice arm as well.
Q: It sounds like your team felt it had Kaepernick’s number.
MATHIEU: Well, we just knew Kaepernick’s tendencies. We knew what he liked to do. We knew which way he wanted to roll out. We knew which side of the field he liked to read to. And you don’t pick up those same things from Gabbert. He’s better in the pocket. He has a better feel for coverages. He can get to the line, see a coverage and then go to a different play. Or see a coverage and not throw the ball. You can see Gabbert’s maturity and the different things he does well that, let’s say, Kaepernick doesn’t do well.