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Baalke on 49ers’ struggles: ‘Strictly on my shoulders’

Although Rapoport has noted that Kelly was interested in even before landing the job, the new coach has yet to publicly endorse over Blaine Gabbert.

This week’s events should provide a semblance of clarity, as the 49ers will meet with Kaepernick’s representatives in Indianapolis, according to the Sacramento Bee.

But according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, they are also optimistic that Colin Kaepernick still might be their franchise quarterback. This, despite the fact that they’ve benched him for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

The theory at work here is that Kaepernick just needs a breather. Blaine Gabbert could possibly do some damage against a banged-up Falcons defense and cheap jerseys and Kaepernick could eventually come in and be the resurgent hero as the games get tougher for Gabbert (the 49ers take on the Cardinals and the Seahawks after Atlanta).

The middle linebacker was thrusted into a starting role last season after ’ retirement. Wilhoite, 29, registered 86 tackles and one interception in 12 games before being sidelined with a season-ending ankle injury. In 2014, he also started for the Niners when All-Pro NaVorro Bowman was out with a knee injury.

Wilhoite figures to be in a position battle with Gerald Hodges for a starting role alongside of Bowman in San Francisco’s 3-4 defense. The five-year linebacker has spent his entire career with the 49ers and has 213 tackles and three interceptions in his career.

ProFootballTalk, which first reported Dockett’s release, stated the move saves San Francisco $3.25 million in cash and salary-cap space. Dockett is a 10-year veteran with 40.5 career sacks. He was expected to serve as a situational pass rusher in Eric Mangini’s defense.

The reasons behind Dockett’s surprise exit are unclear, though the veteran defensive tackle had been slowed by a rib injury. Dockett might have rubbed some in the organization the wrong way when he tweeted that his rib was broken, a diagnosis that Tomsula refuted.

Roberts had battled numerous health issues in recent years. According to USA Today, he suffered from diabetes and also had his legs amputated after being diagnosed with gangrene. He was close friends with former 49ers teammate Ronnie Lott, who helped raised money for Roberts’ medical bills through an assistance fund he set up.

Roberts played all eight seasons of his NFL career with the 49ers (1986-93) after being drafted 39th overall by San Francisco in 1986. He won titles with the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXIV.

Perhaps this is evidence of a long season simply wearing on a person. Maybe it’s just evidence that Baalke knows what fans want to hear — some general managers have perfected the song and dance by now.

But if he is taking all the blame for this miserable season in San Francisco, does that mean coach Chip Kelly will return next year? With Oregon firing coach Mark Helfrich on Tuesday, so began the latest churn of the Kelly-back-to-college rumor mill. Though he’s denied it many times, there will be some talking heads unable to digest the fact that he enjoys the NFL lifestyle far more. At Oregon, he would have to go back to (or do his best version of) glad-handing with boosters and recruiting — all the exhaustive efforts that are not required of coaches in the NFL.