Niners dump three D-linemen

There are players on the 49ers' final roster who shouldn't be getting too comfortable just yet, particularly if they're defensive linemen. Two days after establishing their 53-man roster and practice squad, the Niners unceremoniously released Josh Shaw and Riddick Parker from the former and Michael Landry from the latter Tuesday, dumping three of the top players on a unit that had become a deep problem area during the preseason. And the DL shakeup could just be a sign of things to come.

The Niners still are tinkering with their roster and, after their defensive line was trampled often during the preseason, that's an area the team is definitely looking to upgrade instead of standing pat with players who - let's be honest - often were overwhelmed by opponents this summer.

The Niners replaced both Parker and Shaw on the roster by Tuesday evening, bringing in 6-foot-1, 280-pound end Tony Brown, a second-year player who last year spent three games on the Miami Dolphins roster and some time on the Carolina Panthers practice squad. They also signed James Atkins, who started four games last year with the Tennessee Titans.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Atkins was one of three defensive linemen who had a tryout with the Niners on Tuesday at the team's Santa Clara facility. Atkins played in 13 games and had 20 tackles and a fumble recovery for the Titans in 2003.

Atkins likely will be asked to fill in immediately as the team's third tackle to rotate with starters Bryant Young and Anthony Adams.

Landry, who was the third defensive tackle on the team's depth chart most of the spring and summer, no longer is an option. After being released Sunday in somewhat of a surprise - mainly because Shaw and others hadn't exactly looked much better during the preseason - Landry was signed back to the practice squad Monday, where it appeared he might soon get another shot at a backup spot on the big roster.

But that's not going to happen. Landry was released from the practice squad along with offensive lineman Alonzo Cunningham. Rookie cornerback Rayshun Reed - who made it to the final cut with the Niners on Sunday - and first-year offensive tackle Tim Provost (6-5, 300) were signed to take their place.


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