SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 49ers are preparing for the influx of some talent on defense and they needed to start clearing room on the active roster.
The 49ers defensive line has been one of the team's most consistent units this season, setting the tone up front for the league's second-ranked total defense that is also fifth-best against the run. Dobbs played in 16 percent of the team's snaps this year and did not register a sack, quarterback hit or hurry, according to Pro Football Focus. He was in the final year of his contract.
There has been no update regarding the potential early reinstatement of Smith from his nine-game suspension that is up after Sunday's game in New Orleans. In an interview with KNBR 680 Tuesday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio indicated Smith would be made active as soon as he is made available, whether that be this week or for next week's road game against the New York Giants.
This will be Dorsey's second week of practice since sustaining a torn biceps tendon early in training camp. He received the injured reserve/return designation making him available to play after the season's first eight weeks. Dorsey's 21-day practice window remains open until Nov. 17, although it's almost a certainty he will be added to the active roster before that window closes, barring a setback. He has been sporting a large brace on his left arm, similar to that of Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
Dorsey said upon his return he knows both the nose tackle and defensive end spots, where he played during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ian Williams has been San Francisco's starter at nose, and has played well this season in his return from four surgeries to repair his broken ankle sustained early in 2013.
Releasing Dobbs allows for more practice reps for Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, who were both impressive during their expansive use in the preseason. Carradine has yet to appear in a regular season game since San Francisco used a second-round pick to take him in 2013. Dial has been active for six games this year, but hasn't played more than seven snaps in a game outside of Week 7's loss to the Broncos, when he received 17 snaps, mostly coming in garbage time.
Fans have clamored to see Carradine after registering a sack, three quarterback hits and six hurries in the preseason. The 49ers rank 25th in the NFL in sack rate (4.58 percent) and have just four sacks from defensive lineman. Three of those belong to Justin Smith - Williams has the other.
Carradine hasn't been made active because Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie have more experience in Fangio's system and can also play special teams. Dobbs getting waived means Carradine is a step closer toward eventually making his NFL debut.
The 49ers also announced Tuesday the addition of cornerback Chance Casey to the practice squad. Casey (5'11", 190) spent the 2013 training camp with the Oakland Raiders. He was put on their practice squad to start the season before being released Aug. 30. He was on San Francisco's practice squad for two weeks thereafter before being let go Sept. 15.
Casey went undrafted out of Baylor, where he had 3 interceptions in 43 games.
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