In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this week against the Buffalo Bills.
Coach Chip Kelly announced the decision Tuesday to bench Blaine Gabbert and give back the job Kaepernick lost midway through last season. Kaepernick has only played briefly in the opener but has generated attention with his refusal to stand for the national anthem.
“We were very analytical and sat down as a staff and watched tape and went over everything,” said Kelly. “We’ve had a couple days to digest everything where we are. I think offensively, we just need to be better and we just need to make a move.”
In this Oct. 6, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert, left, watches as quarterback Colin Kaepernick warms up before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Gabbert has struggled this season for San Francisco (1-4). He is last in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.9) and has the second-worst passer rating (69.6) in the league.
“It’s not Blaine’s fault,” said Kelly. “I think as group, offensively we need to be better in a lot of ways. So we’re going to see what we can do and make a move here. It’s really one of the only maneuvers we can make based on our depth.”
Kelly said Kaepernick’s ongoing protest had no bearing on his decision.
After leading the Niners to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and the NFC title game the following year, Kaepernick has struggled. He lost his job to Gabbert midway through last season and then had three operations that limited his work in the offseason.