Vic Fangio today said the plan this week is to monitor Glenn Dorsey's hamstring strain, and if the nose tackle isn't ready to play on Sunday, to elevate one of two rookies - or possibly both - to the active roster.
Fangio got his first extended look at one of those rookies, Quinton Dial, on Wednesday. "He did fine," Fangio said. "Thought he was moving around well, mixed in, was pretty good on his assignments and overall was pleased with the way he practiced yesterday."
Another option - and perhaps a more realistic one - is undrafted rookie Mike Purcell (Wyoming), who spent the entire offseason with the 49ers and currently is on their practice squad. Fangio said Purcell was ahead of Dial and defensive end Tank Carradine, who also only joined practice this week.
"He had all of OTAs, he had all of training camp," Fangio said. "Mike's able to go in there and battle in the trenches for us. He can play nose or he can play end for us. So he's versatile, he's experienced when you compare him to Quinton and Tank. So he's ready to go if needed."
Fangio agreed that an ideal scenario would be to allow the untested rookies to practice through the team's Week 9 bye before putting them into a game. But with Dorsey ailing and defensive end Ray McDonald adjusting to to a biceps tendon tear, the 49ers might have to accelerate the learning curve.
"We're not in a perfect world right now as far as the depth of our defensive line," he said. "So we've got to do what we've got to do."
Fangio said that Dorsey would try to practice some today and that the 49ers would have a better sense of the situation after they see him in action. If Dorsey can't play, Tony Jerod-Eddie would start and one of the rookies would back him up. Any roster moves would have to be done by Saturday afternoon.
Fangio also shared his remembrances of Daniel Garza, the team physician who passed away on Tuesday.
"I was shocked and devastated and knew him very well," Fangio said. "I've been around high-level football for over 30 years. And you get to meet a lot of top doctors in the areas where you're at, and he was at the top of the list. He was just tremendous. He was an A+ doctor."
"He was a friend of everybody in this organization and had time for everybody. And I know I needed him for a couple of things off the field. One time I was away on vacation and came down sick and called him up. It was like I was right there. He was a tremendous individual and a tremendous doctor and somebody who we're going to really miss."
-- Matt Barrows