The San Francisco 49ers deactivated defensive lineman Quinton Dial in Week 12 due to knee and neck issues, and it resulted in a bit of a surprise Sunday morning. Defensive tackle Chris Jones, claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins three weeks ago, was active for the first time, and also was in the starting lineup.
The defensive starting lineup is not exactly the primary consideration in analyzing what the team did on a given Sunday. Jones got the start, but played 46 percent of snaps. DeForest Buckner again led the line with 97 percent of defensive snaps, and Glenn Dorsey was behind him at 66 percent. Rookie Ronald Blair actually had the third most snaps (51 percent), rotating in regularly on passing downs. It was interesting that Jones moved past Tony Jerod-Eddie, who has slipped in work rate over the past three games.
The 49ers were focused on stopping Jay Ajayi and the run. Ryan Tannehill was able to take advantage of that in the passing game, but we did see the 49ers do some solid work against the run. Jones did some good work in his snaps. He had two tackles, and also got some decent pressure on one play. He had one missed tackle early, but for the most part was decent enough when the Dolphins ran the ball at him. I think he has earned another chance next week, but it will depend in part on what happens with Dial’s injuries this week.
Here is the full defensive snap count for Week 12 (PDF).