- Associated Press
Friday, November 6, 2015

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - While coach Jim Tomsula presented the 49ers’ quarterback change this week as a chance for benched Colin Kaepernick to get a chance to “breathe,” Kaepernick insists he’s still preparing as he would a usual week and will support starter Blaine Gabbert on Sunday against Atlanta.

Kaepernick was told Monday he wouldn’t start against the Falcons, but said he hasn’t had a harder time going to work.

“No, to me that’s selfish, to put that on myself and take away from my teammates and away from Blaine,” Kaepernick said. “I’ll support my teammates, I’ll support Blaine, in everything they do because they support me.”

After two straight games without a touchdown and three in five not finding the end zone for San Francisco (2-6), Kaepernick refuses to get into the notion he might be a “scapegoat” for a sinking team only three years after he led the Niners to a Super Bowl.

“I don’t pass judgment on that,” he said after Friday’s practice. “I do everything I can to try to help this team win, try to support my teammates and try to go out and help us get a W on Sunday.”

Gabbert will take the field Sunday against the Falcons without top running back Carlos Hyde, ruled out Friday with a stress fracture in his left foot after not practicing all week. Wideout Anquan Boldin was listed as doubtful with an injured hamstring.

When asked about Tomsula’s comment about letting him breathe, Kaepernick said, “I’m not out of breath so I don’t understand that reference.”

“I don’t believe in pressure. The pressure’s not being prepared for what you want to do,” he said. “To me, I played full seasons, I’ve played full seasons and been successful. It’s something that mentally, I’ve been through before. I’m not incapable of going through things.”

Yet offensive coordinator Geep Chryst hinted Thursday that Kaepernick might be trying too hard this season to make plays that have come more naturally in the past when things were going well.

“You’re a young player, you come in, you’re looking for opportunities to make plays to win,” Chryst said. “Now it’s flipped a little bit and it’s I don’t want to make a mistake that provides an opportunity for the team to lose.”

Kaepernick doesn’t see it that way. He took over the starting job from Alex Smith in November 2012 under coach Jim Harbaugh and wound up keeping the job and leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and a three-point loss to Baltimore.

“I don’t believe that’s accurate,” he said. “Every time I step on the field, I step on the field to make plays. But that’s just the matter of opinion.”

Boldin missed his first game since 2012 last week, while Hyde hasn’t played since the 49ers’ Oct. 22 loss to the Seahawks because of the foot.

Gabbert, making his first start since 2013 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, will try to spark the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense in both scoring and yardage despite all the injuries. He said this week he can relate to Kaepernick after losing his starting job with the Jaguars two years ago. Jacksonville traded Gabbert to the 49ers after he went 5-22 as a starter.

NOTES: LG Alex Boone (knee) returned to practice Friday and is probable for Sunday’s game . With the trade of TE Vernon Davis to Denver this week, Garrett Celek, Vance McDonald and rookie Blake Bell are the available tight ends. Celek is questionable while still going through the league’s concussion protocol and so is CB Kenneth Acker with a concussion and chest injury.


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