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Jim Harbaugh sticks by Blaine Gabbert

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Quarterback Blaine Gabbert clearly did not have a promising debut for the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason opener at the Baltimore Ravens last week.

Gabbert completed 5 of 15 passes for 44 yards and he never looked comfortable. But don’t expect Gabbert to get less playing time Sunday when the 49ers host the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium -- the first NFL game in San Francisco's new home. Harbaugh said he is “very pleased’ with Gabbert and that he expects him to be the first quarterback to spell starter Colin Kaepernick on Sunday.

“He had a couple of very good throws, missed a couple, as we said right after the game,” Harbaugh said of Gabbert. “It was a good first step. He’s continued to compete well.”

Gabbert, a former starter at the Jacksonville Jaguars who the 49ers acquired for a late-round draft pick in March, is essentially locked in for a spot on the 53-man roster because he is guaranteed nearly $2 million this season. He’d have to be completely awful for the rest of the preseason for current No. 3 quarterback Josh Johnson to beat him out.

Expect Gabbert to get an extended chance to redeem himself said against the Broncos. Harbaugh said Kaepernick likely won’t play much on Sunday.