Out of all the roster competitions at 49ers training camp, it makes sense that the battle at nose tackle is head to head between two of the toughest – and largest – players on the team.
It's a fight.
This season, San Francisco signed six-year veteran Glenn Dorsey away from the Kansas City Chiefs and rewarded a contract extension to Ian Williams, an undrafted free agent acquired in 2011. The duo gives the team two options to replace Isaac Sopoaga, now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
In defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's 3-4 scheme, the nose tackle is critical in keeping the opposition's offensive linemen away from his linebackers. In the 49ers case, strong play from Williams or Dorsey will free up the inside 'backers Joe Staley and NaVorro Bowman to roam to the ball. Dorsey could also see time at defensive tackle, the five-technique position in San Francisco's 3-4 alignment.
Janie McCauley of the Associated Press featured Williams on Wednesday morning, quoting Willis about the impact Williams has made during practices in Santa Clara. The Pro Bowler said Williams can do more than just take on an extra blocker.
"It's really his knack for being able to move. A lot of times people think nose guards are guys that are just big and just hold a point," Willis said. "But he's a guy that if you single him he can beat you 1-on-1. If you double-team he can hold the point. As a middle linebacker, that's what you love to see."
Today's Morning Tailgate covers a handful of other important storylines surrounding the 49ers entering their first preseason game, a 6.p.m. PT home opener against the Denver Broncos.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle focused on another defensive lineman, Demarcus Dobbs.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee got the 49ers take on the NFL requiring thigh pads.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reported on Tuesday's practice, which Ricardo Lockette highlighted.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News wrote that it's all relative for football beginner Lawrence Okoye.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com reviewed the running back spot for each NFC West team.
49ers.com detailed the strong connection between Anquan Boldin and his new quarterback.
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