SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Blaine Gabbert, who grew up in Ballwin, Missouri, was not yet 6 years old when the Los Angeles Rams moved to neighboring St. Louis in time for the 1995 NFL season
“We had season tickets,” Gabbert said Wednesday. “I remember the first game they played outdoors at the old Busch Stadium. That was my first professional football game.”
And yet, being the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback for their season finale against those same Rams, who may be playing their final game as the St. Louis NFL representative before moving back to Los Angeles, carries no extra meaning for Gabbert.
“No, not at all,” he said. “It’s another division game. It’s a big game for both sides regardless of the situation that we put ourselves in up to this point. You want to end the year on a positive note, on a high note and go out and play good football.”
For Gabbert, it’s the eighth and final opportunity to prove that he deserves to be in the conversation for the Niners' starting QB next season. His numbers in seven starts are already better than those of Colin Kaepernick in several categories, from passing yardage (1,677-1,615) to completion percentage (63.0-59.0) to touchdown passes (9-6) to sacks (24-28) to passer rating (86.1-78.5).
And no, Gabbert, who is due to make $1.75 million in base salary next season with the Niners, will not go on the hunt this offseason for additional help to refine his craft, as Kaepernick has done.
“I trust our coaches here,” Gabbert said.
“Some people believe that you can get outside help, others don’t. I’m more one to believe that I trust my routine, my lifting and training regimen, the facilities that I work out at. And I do things specific to what we’re doing here. That’s about it.”
Much was made of Kaepernick working with Kurt Warner last spring to improve his mechanics. And many quarterbacks often work with noted QB guru Tom House when they are not allowed to have contact with their teams.
Gabbert, though, has no such QB whisperer.
“I just grip it and rip it,” he said with a laugh.
“I think if you can throw a football and deliver it from point A to point B, that’s what it boils down to. Everybody has different mechanics. Everybody has a different throwing motion. But, at the end of the day, if you can deliver the ball on time and accurate, that’s what you have to do. So, every quarterback guru thinks they know how to throw a football one certain way, but I beg to differ when it comes to that. If you can deliver it accurately and on time, that’s what works for you.”
Kaepernick, meanwhile, continues to recover from surgery to repair the labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder and is due $11.9 million from the Niners if he is still on the roster April 1.
Gabbert was asked Kaepernick’s role since going on Injured Reserve and if he has helped him in the film room.
“The biggest thing is he’s just rehabbing right now,” Gabbert said, referencing backup QB Dylan Thompson, practice squad QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson and QB coach Steve Logan.
“I’m going about my same routine... that’s the biggest thing that I’m worried about. I’m worried about being accountable to those guys and the teammates that are out there on Sunday.”