Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine both had very strong preseason outings, and both have potential to be starters down the line. But both were also inactive for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. There are those who thought that the two might get some playing time so the team could see what they have just in case something happens with Ray McDonald, and some just thought they deserved to be active and play regardless.
But they were inactive, while Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs were both active and both played. It's worth noting that neither of these two are bad or anything, but both Carradine and Dial seem to have a much higher ceiling. Whatever the case, defensive coordinator spoke to the media and gave some insight as to why Dobbs was active in lieu of the other two:
"Well, special teams does play a role in there. Dobbs is a contributor on the special teams. When you only dress five D-lineman, those guys have to have some versatility. You know, Dobbs can play in the base and in the sub. He plays in special teams, so, he adds a little bit more there when you're only dressing five. If you're ever able to dress six, which would be unusual but possible, you know, then those other guys may be able to factor into it."
This was a question directly referencing both Dial and Carradine. I don't disagree with Fangio's decision at all (not that it would make a difference). Especially early on in the season with all of the injuries and off-the-field issues, even without factoring in special teams I think it makes sense to go with the guys who may not have the pop to make huge plays, but who have been reliable in the past.
To me, that sort of fits the definition of a guy like Jerod-Eddie. I've never been overwhelmingly impressed by his potential to have an impact on the game, but I also feel comfortable with him in the lineup. I'm definitely not alone when I say I want to see what Carradine and Dial (the former especially) can bring to the table, but I'm also fine with this line of thinking for the time being.