SANTA CLARA — 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick isn’t likely to play more than a series or two when San Francisco plays its first preseason game at newly finished Levi’s Stadium.
Kaepernick completed his only pass and led San Francisco to a field goal in his only series of work in last week’s 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Backups Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson split the majority of playing time the rest of the way. McLeod Bethel-Thompson mopped up in the fourth quarter.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said the plan will be the same when the 49ers host the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
“It’s going to be the same plan going into this game,” Harbaugh said Friday. “I can’t just say the starters are playing this amount or the starters on defense are playing this amount or certain backups are playing this amount. It’s more individualized to each player, each position.”
Teams generally play their starters longer each week through the first three preseason games then back off in the fourth game.
With his team having practiced with the Ravens in the days leading up to the preseason opener, Harbaugh isn’t as pressed to play his starters as he might have been.
That means Gabbert and Johnson will get extended looks as they continue their competition for the backup job.
The 10th overall pick in 2011, Gabbert is listed ahead of Johnson on the depth chart, but is coming off a rough debut with the 49ers. He completed only 3 of 11 passes for 20 yards. He was also intercepted once, drawing criticism from the media and fans.
Johnson completed 6 of 8 for 63 yards.