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Dorsey to Start at NT; Jerod-Eddie Backs up

Posted Sep 20, 2013

With the season-ending injury to nose tackle Ian Williams, the responsibility of stuffing the opponent's run game falls to Glenn Dorsey and Tony Jerod-Eddie

The 49ers replacing defensive lineman Ian Williams on the roster with a fullback, Owen Marecic, earlier this week was not a traditional choice.

But it speaks to the confidence San Francisco’s decision-makers have in the backups to Williams, who underwent surgery on a broken left ankle suffered in Week 2. And that goes beyond Glenn Dorsey, whom the team brought in this offseason to compete with Williams at nose tackle.

“We feel confident with Tony Jerod-Eddie,” Jim Harbaugh said this week. “Somebody that’s worked extremely hard going on two years now. We feel like it’s his time to step up and he’s the next man up and deserves that opportunity. And we feel good about it too.”

Jerod-Eddie, who wears No. 63, was inactive on game day last Sunday in Seattle. He’s now No. 2 behind Dorsey and has the confidence of his coordinator entering San Francisco’s tilt with the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday at Candlestick Park.

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“He’s capable of playing it here,” play-caller Vic Fangio said of the 6-foot-5, 301-pound Jerod-Eddie at the nose tackle position. “We’ve worked with him since the day he’s gotten here and he’ll be fine in there if he has to play.”

And Fangio expects to use him. Because the defense dresses five defensive lineman on Sunday, Fangio explained, there would have to be three injuries to the position group before filling its three-man front became impossible.

“There’s been games where we don’t play much base,” Fangio said of his 3-4 scheme. “I think this game is a chance where we will play more base, as was Seattle was much more than Green Bay per se.”

Jerod-Eddie, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2012, spent most of last season on the practice squad. He recorded first career tackle in the Week 1 Packers game.

As for Dorsey, a sixth-year pro who will enjoy the lien share of playing time opposite Indianapolis center Samson Satele, he made his presence known with a sack in Seattle, his first with the 49ers. Fangio called him the “full-time nose” going forward.

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“Glenn played well. He’s a savvy veteran,” inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “To him come in when he needed him, he did a great job and made some plays.”

Fellow ‘backer Patrick Willis feels the same way.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to Ian,” Willis said. “But I have complete faith in Glenn and Tony to play the nose. Looking forward to (seeing) ‘em this week.”