San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula addressed the media on Wednesday, and had several chances to discuss the team's defensive line depth. You can watch the full interview HERE.
Tomsula was asked if the team would work to get both Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams on the field at some point. Tomsula talked about how players cross-train, and there is always the possibility of mixing things up to get both on the field. However, it was his comments about Quinton Dial that were most interesting. While walking about the strong nose guard work of Dorsey and Williams, he also referenced Dial's work there.
And you talk about those two nose guards with Ian and Dorsey, I'd dare say to you, when you watched Quinton Dial toward the end of last year, that was a pretty dad-gum good nose guard. I see him more as an end, but he sure does have NFL snaps on game day as a starting nose guard that are really good.
There has been plenty of discussion of Dial getting to the end position if Dorsey and Williams are healthy. There has been no real update on the rehab of either player. It will probably take until late April or into May before we start to get some hint of things. Dorsey tore his biceps muscle last year in training camp, and Williams suffered a fractured fibula in mid-November. Dorsey was placed on short term injured reserve at the start of the season, was activated after Week 11. He was inactive for three weeks, and then placed on the full season IR. Williams was inactive for one week after the fracture, and then placed on injured reserve.
The 49ers nose tackle depth chart has contained the same three guys the last two years (with Mike Purcell also in the mix), but it has been a topsy-turvy in the two seasons since Dial was drafted and Dorsey was first signed.
In 2013, Williams was the starting nose tackle, Dorsey appeared to be the primary reserve along the line, and Dial was a quasi-red shirt type of guy. A brutal lower leg injury early in the season saw Williams go to IR and Dorsey take over as nose tackle. Dial got some time late in the season, but Dorsey looked strong as the team's nose tackle. And then, as discussed above, Dorsey and Williams were both sidelined at one point or another, and Dial became the team's starting nose tackle.
If fully healthy, the 49ers have great depth at nose tackle. The problem is that we don't know exactly where Dorsey and Williams are in their rehab. If the 49ers are comfortable with both, we will then get to figure out what it means for the end positions. If Dial gets some time at end during the offseason workout program and training camp, it will give us a chance to potentially see him in action in the preseason. The team has some question marks at end, particularly with Justin Smith's future still undecided. Even if the 49ers draft a 3-4 defensive end fairly early in the draft, getting Dial more experience there would be a good thing for the long-term depth of the position.