The San Francisco 49ers made the Ian Williams injury news official, placing their nose tackle on injured reserve. Harbaugh told the media on Monday that he was having surgery that day. The move opened a roster spot on the 53-man, and the 49ers have quickly filled it, signing fullback Owen Marecic.
Marecic played for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Marecic's time in Cleveland did not pan out, and he was released last month. Marecic visited with the 49ers, but nothing was ever signed. Now, Coach Harbaugh has the guy he once described as "the football player I always wanted to be."
The 49ers already have Bruce Miller on the roster, with Anthony Dixon listed as his backup. It's hard to tell what exactly this means in that regard. I would be surprised if Marecic is active this week, so soon after signing, but other than that, I honestly don't know what the plan is with him.
As for the nose tackle position, the 49ers would seem content to go with Glenn Dorsey and not much else. As I understand it, Tony Jerod-Eddie is better suited on the edge in the base 3-4. The 49ers host the Colts this weekend. Through two weeks, NFLGSIS formation usage indicates they have used three or more wide receivers on 48 percent of their offensive plays. The 49ers have found themselves in their nickel package quite a bit through the first two weeks. It should decrease a little bit this week, which means Dorsey will get more nose tackle work than he would have seen the last two weeks.
Ian Williams won the nose tackle job through a strong offseason, so it obviously hurts losing the starter. Dorsey has looked solid in his own work, but beyond just losing the starter, this means the utility defensive linemen takes a hit as well. Dorsey will still get some line work in the nickel, but with the nose tackle work as well, it could limit the additional work to some extent. Demarcus Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie are now the primary reserves along the defensive line.
On a side note, if Ray McDonald is unable to go this Sunday, the team would need to add another defensive lineman, as they are down to three starters and two reserves. If McDonald is healthy, it's not the end of the world, but things are getting a bit tight in the defensive line depth chart.