A year ago, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle suffered a torn biceps muscle during training camp. The team used the injured reserve with return designation, and Dorsey was activated midway through the season. He was unable to get back to 100 percent however, and was subsequently placed on injured reserve.
A training camp later, Glenn Dorsey told the media on Friday he is 100 percent and good to go. He said his work throughout the offseason and working with the strength and conditioning coaches got him in the right frame of mind. He acknowledged it was a process, but the more he used the arm, the more comfortable he got.
Dorsey understands he cannot test it fully until he is in a game, but he is getting a feel for where it stands right now. He sees the scar, but often forgets he even had surgery. Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was asked about his observations on Dorsey's return. Although Mangini coached tight ends last year, his defensive history means he had some idea of what was going on. When asked about Dorsey forgetting about the surgery at times, Mangini said (transcript),
"Glenn's a great guy. Always has that big smile, it seems to me. Yeah, he has not, I'm sure subconsciously there may be a component of that. But, when you watch him go through the drills and move and compete he's definitely jumped in with both feet and it'll be great to see him, not just in these early days, but as we put on pads against Houston to get him contact again. But, he's moving well and you don't look at him and go, ‘OK, he's favoring one side.'"
Dorsey has been practicing primarily at defensive end, but the common refrain from Eric Mangini and Jim Tomsula is about versatility. Dorsey talked on Friday about everybody being versatile, and Tomsula emphasized it again on Sunday. Tomsula said he is still taking some snaps at nose tackle (transcript). Dorsey would not say where he expected to start, but instead that the team will continue cross-training everybody all along the line.
Dorsey and Quinton Dial are expected to start around nose tackle Ian Williams when the base defense hits the field Week 1. It appears Dorsey is not working in the nickel, with Tank Carradine and Darnell Dockett expected to get the most run there. Dockett is not taking part in team drills at this point, and Dial has gotten the nickel defensive tackle reps in his place.
The 49ers played a sizable amount of nickel the last four years, and there is no word yet on how much of the sub-packages will show up in 2015. I suspect we will see plenty of Dorsey, but it remains to be seen how much of the cross-training will result in regular usage in other roles.