Steve Young might have been extremely nervous for his debut as a color analyst during the 49ers opener on Monday Night Football, but he left the game impressed at how Chip Kelly’s team seemed to have the opposite disposition throughout their 28-0 drubbing of the Los Angeles Rams.
The Hall of Fame quarterback joined Tolbert & Lund yesterday, and said that considering the tepid expectations for the 49ers in 2016, Monday’s performance was an encouraging display, thanks in large part to the preparation of Kelly.
“A lot of that was scheme, a lot of that was coaching,” Young said. “A lot of that was coming out day one with clean football. Not a lot of penalties, not a lot of typical first game screw-ups. They looked like a veteran team even though they are not.”
The 49ers committed only two penalties for 10 yards and just one turnover, a fumble in the second quarter, numbers that were both eclipsed by the bumbling Rams.
While quarterback Blaine Gabbert deserves a good chuck of the credit for protecting the ball, the cost that comes with his conservative style was also on display Monday night, with the young quarterback averaging a measly 4.9 yards per attempt, the second lowest total in Week 1. Young says that Gabbert’s tentativeness, and his tendency to miss open receivers when facing even the slightest amount of pressure, stems from traumatic experiences that came with quarterbacking an awful Jacksonville Jaguars team right out of college.
“The people around (the team) everyday kind’ve describe Blaine, and take this the right way, as an abused quarterback,” Young said. “Somebody who has been beat up emotionally, mentally and because of that has unusual responses because there’s no sense of confidence.”
It’s understandable that Gabbert is scared to take risks after his struggles in Jacksonville lead many to believe that he’d never become a competent NFL quarterback. Gabbert has overcome that perception for now, but that’s not going to be enough if this 49er team is to achieve any real success with Gabbert as it’s signal caller. Young says Gabbert needs to start maturating into a confident quarterback sooner rather than later.
“That needs to get out of his system quickly,” Young said. “No one in the NFL has time for you to (not get over) this history.”