What a better way for a backup to be tested than to go against an All-Pro.
That is the challenge nose tackle Ricky Jean-Francois will be faced with. The San Francisco 49ers backup defensive lineman will be filling in at nose tackle in place of injured Isaac Sopoaga (ankle, knee) today versus the New York Jets.
The 49ers backup will be going against All-Pro and perennial Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold.
The Niners staff has gone as far as to say they consider Jean-Francois a starter. He is the primary sub - versatile enough to play all three spots on the d-line - and there is no drop-off in performance when he's in the lineup. Besides subbing in, Jean-Francois has two career starts, both in 2011.
He started against Tampa Bay and Washington, and San Francisco came away victorious both times. In two starts, Jean-Francois had 7 tackles and the 49ers defense let up only 14 total points.
I also like where Jean-Francois may be at from a mental standpoint. This is a player -former LSU defensive lineman originally from Miami, Florida - that's had an opportunity to learn from Justin Smith, play in Vic Fangio's scheme and be coached by Jim Tomsula.
I hold Jean-Francois to a pretty high regard and expect him to perform well today.