The San Francisco 49ers will likely be without defensive lineman Quinton Dial on Sunday. Head coach Jim Tomsula met with the media on Friday and said Dial is unlikely to practice on Friday due to a muscle issue in his back. One media member asked who would play in the likely event Dial does not play. Tomsula said everybody was ready, and did not correct the media member. It sounds like Dial will be out this weekend, but we'll find out more with the final injury report later this afternoon.
Dial's potential absence would mean the defensive line depth would be stretched a bit. Ian Williams will start at nose tackle, and Mike Purcell would likely start at one of the defensive end positions. If Dial is out, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Arik Armstead would be the two candidates for the other end position. Tank Carradine would get edge work in the nickel, but would not play end in the base defense.
This would be a big hit to the 49ers run defense. Dial and Williams have been key cogs on that line. The unit has been inconsistent when they head on the road, but the run defense has been strong at home. Of course, the St. Louis Rams run game could face its own issues. Running back Todd Gurley missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a foot injury. If Gurley does not practice on Friday, I suspect he would not play on Sunday. Tre Mason would get the start in Gurley's place.