The San Francisco 49ers placed Michael Wilhoite on the NFI list to open training camp, and as they hit the practice field Saturday evening, they have some ideas on how they will rotate their inside linebackers. Eric Mangini told the media Saturday afternoon that Nick Moody will get first team reps with NaVorro Bowman at the first practice. However, Mangini also said Philip Wheeler and Desmond Bishop
Magini says Nick Moody will play ILB with the first-team defense today but Phillip Wheeler & Desmond Bishop also will be worked in with 1s.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 1, 2015
Jim Tomsula said that Wilhoite should not spend a lot of time on the NFI list, but any absence is a boon for the reserves. Tomsula praised Moody during the offseason workout program, and his opportunity would seem to be carrying over to training camp. The first three practices are without pads, so conclusions are fairly limited for now. August 4 is the first padded practice, which is when we can start to take away a little bit more.
I figured heading into camp that Wilhoite and Bowman were locked in as the starting inside linebackers. Wilhoite might still be fine, but this opens the door, even if just a crack, for someone to grab the job. It is hard to make a prediction at this point given that we don't know when Wilhoite will return. But if his absence extends more than a week, Nick Moody or Philip Wheeler could move into the driver's seat to start next to Bowman.