San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly offered a “we’ll see” to reporters inquiring about Colin Kaepernick’s prospects to continue starting.
Kaepernick squatted behind center for the first time to start a game this season after kneeling for the national anthem all season. He completed just 13 of 29 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. But he scampered for 66 yards, which Kelly casts as the silver lining on the cloud of a day that saw the 49ers fall 45-16 to the Buffalo Bills.
“I thought he was OK,” Kelly told reporters. “There are some positives that you can really build on with him that he did. I thought he extended some drives, keeping plays alive with his legs. He did a good job so it was a pretty good situation in terms of him running the football. But, overall offensively, I think we need to run the ball as a group better and we need to be better at our passing game.”
OK? That’s coach code for he played poorly but I don’t want to hurt his feelings. When Canton launches a Hall of OK to compete with its Hall of Fame, Colin Kaepernick assuredly gains entry on the first ballot.
The 49ers sit at the bottom of the NFC West with a 1-5 record. They host the 2-3 Buccaneers on Sunday.
Kelly could opt to return to Blaine Gabbert, who started the first five games, or give Christian Ponder, a former starter for the Vikings, a try. Or, he could keep Kaepernick as the quarterback.
Joe Montana, unfortunately, is not walking through that tunnel. Steve Young is not walking through that tunnel. Jeff Garcia isn’t even walking through that tunnel. Kelly, unfortunately, sees three competent backups on his QB depth chart but not a single quality starting quarterback. He sees OK. OK proves sufficient when you play Oregon State. In the NFL, OK is never OK.
“Again, for his first time back, I thought he did an OK job,” Kelly explained in a lukewarm endorsement. “We have to be better overall on offense, not just the quarterback. It’s everyone on the offensive side of the ball. But I thought he really made some plays with his legs today. We have to do a better job with everyone on the offensive side.”