Instead, the second-year defensive tackle relished the opportunity to be back on the field. Carradine, a second-round draft pick in 2013, did not see the field as a rookie. Carradine started the year on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List and was placed on Injured Reserve on Dec. 10 after team doctors determined that Carradine wasn't quite ready for regular season action.
In essence, Carradine used his first NFL season to fully rehab the torn ACL he suffered as a college senior at Florida State.
With that said, it's easy to see why someone like Carradine would appreciate preseason play. He has been back at full-strength this offseason and has used every practice to improve as a player. The intensity, as Carradine found out, increased in San Francisco's 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
It was also his first live action in an NFL game of any kind.
"For someone like me who was out for a year and a half and missed last season," Carradine began, "I was able to go get reps and have the feel of playing in a game again. Every day I’m getting more of those memories back."
Carradine finished the game with eight tackles (four solo) and a recorded a bone-jarring sack on Ravens second-string quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Carradine looped inside the pocket on a stunt and instantaneously leveled the athletic passer.
The production was very similar to what Carradine accomplished in his final year at Florida State: 80 tackles, 11 sacks, 13 tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 12 games.
He'll be better for it, too.
"I realize what I’m going against now and I know what it’s like to play that kind of snap count," Carradine said.
Veteran defensive linemen
If San Francisco uses the same personnel as it did against Baltimore, Carradine will be in line for another busy day.
"I have a feel for everything," Carradine said. "I’ll be just fine."
Vic Fangio told reporters earlier this month that he has seen strides from Carradine. The defensive coordinator said Carradine has improved throughout the offseason, but he also cautioned that he has to "do better from an assignment standpoint for us to feel comfortable to play him."
The honest assessment will be put to the test in Carradine's next on-field performance.
Since Fangio gave his feedack on Carradine, the 49ers have played in a preseason game, plus shared the practice field three more times with the Ravens in Owings Mills, Md.
Carradine, like many of the young players on the roster, continues to develop over the course of training camp and preseason action.
He'll get another chance to showcase his development on Sunday.
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