The San Francisco 49ers have a new coach in Chip Kelly — their third in three seasons — and a 1-2 record. They have not had a winning record since 2013 and likely won’t this year.
On Sunday, the backup quarterback sat or kneeled for a seventh time during the national anthem at an NFL game, with safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold joining him. Five other 49ers players raised their fists.
Kaepernick repeatedly has said his protest is to raise awareness about racial inequality in the country.
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Kaepernick remains the No. 2 quarterback despite Blaine Gabbert’s struggles. The 49ers rank 29th in total offense, including 30th in passing. Gabbert ranks 30th of 32 qualifying quarterbacks with a 68.6 passer rating.
Gabbert’s 55.2 completion percentage ranks 31st and his 5.5 yards per attempt is 32nd.
But Kelly made it clear in his news conference Monday that Kaepernick remains the backup to Gabbert. Gabbert’s leash, though, likely is growing shorter by the game.
“We’ll just see how we go offensively,” Kelly told 49ers reporters. “I mean, if we score 65 touchdowns next week, then I don’t see [Kaepernick] getting a shot.”
Former Colleyville Heritage star Christian Ponder remains the third quarterback on the 49ers’ roster.
The 49ers might not rank high in much, but they are good at forcing turnovers. They have four fumble recoveries and four interceptions this season. Their eight takeaways tie them for third, and their plus-three turnover margin ties for seventh.
The eight takeaways have accounted for 45 of the 49ers’ 73 points.
Carlos Hyde rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense, but it wasn’t as good as it sounds. Sixty-seven of his yards came in the fourth quarter of a 37-18 loss.
Hyde has rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns on 58 carries this season.
The third-year back from Ohio State has struggled to stay on the field. He missed 11 games in his first two seasons with back, ankle and foot injuries.
Hyde suffered a concussion in the preseason, though he has not missed any regular-season games this year.