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49ers place Tukuafu on IR, activate Colin Jones; opens door for Dobbs: A fan’s take
After a great victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers suffered one loss to their improving defensive squad. After collecting a fumble in his first-ever NFL regular-season snap against the Seattle Seahawks, backup defensive end Will Tukuafu(notes) injured his wrist against the Eagles and will be placed on injured reserve. Replacing him on the 53-man roster will be rookie safety Colin Jones(notes) off the 49ers practice squad.
Back in early September when the 49ers made their cuts to reach the 53-man roster limit, Jones, a sixth-round pick out of Texas Christian University, made the team for special teams purposes. However, with the team only holding two tight ends in Vernon Davis(notes) and Delanie Walker(notes), Jones was waived and put on the team's practice squad after Week 1 against the Seahawks to sign former Atlanta Falcons tight end Justin Peelle(notes).
In four games this season, Tukuafu was part of a defensive line rotation that featuring Isaac Sopoaga(notes), Justin Smith(notes), and Ray McDonald(notes). Sharing backup playing time with Ricky Jean Francois(notes), who can play both the nose tackle and defensive end positions, Tukuafu didn't see too much playing time at defensive end behind Smith and McDonald, both of whom are workhorses who have played a large majority of the snaps so far this season.
While Jones is now off the practice squad and is again a part of the 53-man roster, he will probably be inactive for most of the team's games. With solid special teams players such as C.J. Spillman(notes), Blake Costanzo(notes), and Tavares Gooden(notes) seeing most of their time on kickoff and punt return coverage, Jones could be another asset on a strong 49ers special teams unit but would leave a hole in the spot left behind by Tukaufu's injury.
This leaves the gate open for undrafted rookie Demarcus Dobbs(notes) finally receiving a shot at regular season action. After making the 53-man roster cut at the end of preseason, Dobbs, as well as four other rookies (quarterback Scott Tolzien(notes), offensive tackle Mike Person(notes), guard Daniel Kilgore(notes), and nose tackle Ian Williams(notes)), have been inactive for all four 49ers games this year. With Jean Francois left as the only defensive lineman left after Tukuafu's injury, Dobbs will likely be activated for the games moving forward.
That being said, Dobbs will likely see little playing time despite having a great preseason with two sacks and eight tackles. With Justin Smith, McDonald, and even first-round draft pick Aldon Smith(notes) started to play a lot more nickel packages as a pass-rushing defensive end, Dobbs will serve as vital defensive line reinforcements until an opportunity presents itself.
Tukuafu to IR; Colin Jones back to the 53-man roster, The Sacramento Bee
San Francisco 49ers Roster, Yahoo! Sports
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Austin Chang is a lifelong football fan, San Francisco 49ers supporter, and contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
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