The San Francisco 49ers defense has a lot of issues, but they did at least get one notable player back into significant rotation in Week 9. Glenn Dorsey was active on Sunday, and played the most defensive snaps (46) he has played since his return from tearing his ACL last year. Dorsey was initially reported to be the starting nose tackle, but Quinton Dial ended up first on the field, and with the most snaps.
It was not unexpected to see the team bench Mike Purcell. His snaps were on the downswing the past few weeks as he and most of the defense have been entirely ineffective. Benching Purcell clearly didn’t change much, but it was a change the team could make. I imagine we’ll see a few more moves like that if the defense continues to struggle. It is essentially shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, but some might say it’s better than just sitting there and going down with the ship.
DeForest Buckner remains incredibly busy. Buckner has led the 49ers defensive line in snaps every week in which he has been healthy. The 49ers are getting the youngster plenty of work, and for development purposes I am entirely down with that. He had a foot injury that cost him one game, but he is no longer on the injury report. The more work he can get on film, and the more work he gets against experienced offensive lineman, the better for his development.
The most notable development was defensive lineman Ronald Blair had his second game with 20+ snaps. He had 24, which is just behind his season high of 25 in week 5. His numbers have gone up and down, and much like Buckner, I would love to see him get more experience and film together as the 49ers look to the future.
Here is the full defensive snap count for Week 9 (Gamebook PDF):