The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that nose tackle Ian Williams has been activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List. The move comes a week after Williams was seen working out for Trent Baalke, the team's chief doctor, and a strength coach. It comes three days after Jim Harbaugh indicated the defensive line would be getting some reinforcements this week.
This is huge for a defensive line that has been riddled with injuries. Glenn Dorsey was lost to a torn biceps muscle, leaving Quinton Dial, Mike Purcell, and Tony Jerod-Eddie as the primary nose tackle options. None of them has extensive NFL game experience at the position, so getting Williams back is huge for the position. Williams won the job over Glenn Dorsey a year ago, but then was lost early in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. He suffered a broken ankle that included ligament damage. It resulted in four surgeries and a lengthy rehab process.
Williams can now join the team in full practices, and get ready for the 49ers Week 1 opener against the Dallas Cowboys. I would be surprised if he played this weekend against the Denver Broncos, but I could see him getting some work the following week against the San Diego Chargers.
Getting him on the field improves the 49ers in several ways. It gives them their best option at nose tackle, and moves Quinton Dial and Tony Jerod-Eddie firmly into reserve defensive end roles. Both could handle the nose role if needed, but their strength is down the line.