For the first time in the 2016 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers activated Christian Ponder to the No. 2 quarterback position, pushing Blaine Gabbert as the team's third-stringer. If starter Colin Kaepernick opts out of his contract in the offseason, Ponder could become the team's next main passer.
The 49ers' match against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday was Ponder's first game with the team this season. Since the year started, Ponder has always been behind Kaepernick and Gabbert, who alternately took the starting spot for the team, according to Sacramento Bee.
As the season rolled along, the San Francisco organization soon realized its problems with its offense. As of Week 15, the team has only won one game.
Although Ponder did not see any action in the game against the Falcons, the 49ers might be grooming him to become the team's next starter. After all, given the way Kaepernick has been behaving and playing, the team will most likely refuse to extend his contract when it expires next season.
As of the moment, it is not yet clear what the 49ers will do at the 2017 draft but the team will probably not rely on a rookie quarterback as starter. In addition, there are no reports yet if San Francisco will trade for a quality quarterback.
Given the lack of clarity in these scenarios, it's safe to say for now that Ponder will be the team's starter next year. For now though, the team and fans will have to endure Kaepernick's leadership.
As noted by Ponder, he's ready to become a starter for the 49ers, even though he's currently Kaepernick's main backup.
"I think I am a starting quarterback," he said according to San Francisco Gate. "I think I have that in me, When I think back to those experiences in Minnesota, the biggest thing that held me back was my confidence and my mental toughness."
"I'm conquering that whole issue," he added.
Ponder's appointment to the No. 2 spot is certainly part of San Francisco's move to revamp its roster. After going through a very disappointing season, fans of the 49ers can expect to see more drastic lineup changes in the future before the 2017 season begins.