The 49ers’ day-before-game roster activity could provide the Miami Dolphins with some clues about how to form their game plan.
The 49ers on Saturday promoted cornerback Jamar Taylor to the active roster from the team's practice squad. They also elevated cornerback Brian Allen and wide receiver Kevin White from the practice squad.
Nickel back K’Waun Williams, meanwhile, was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He must sit out at least the next three games.
“Not having K’Waun out there is a big challenge and we’re missing some other guys, too,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told Greg Papa on this week's episode of "49ers Game Plan."
The 49ers also placed defensive end Ziggy Ansah on injured reserve with a torn biceps. He will miss the remainder of the season. Earlier this week, the 49ers promoted defensive lineman Alex Barrett and released veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will have to call a game without several of the 49ers' top cornerbacks available.
Jason Verrett, who played well in his first two games, will be back for his third consecutive start. It's anybody's guess at this point who will line up on the other side. Ken Webster, whom the 49ers recently signed off the Dolphins practice squad, saw action last week in a backup role.
Taylor appears set as the team's nickel back during Williams' absence. He will take over the difficult assignment of covering the slot receiver. Davante Parker, the Dolphins’ leading receiver is likely to see some time in the slot, in addition to Isaiah Ford.
The Dolphins undoubtedly will hope for 37-year-old quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to exploit the new faces in the 49ers' defensive backfield.
Taylor entered the 49ers’ Week 4 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and immediately made a play when he sacked Carson Wentz. The 49ers have a nickel blitz designed specifically for Williams, whose nickname is Shark.
“He (Taylor) went in and I heard Saleh call the ‘shark blitz’ and I kept looking up for K’Waun, because I hadn’t yet realized that Jamar was in,” Shanahan said this week. “And Jamar got it on his first play, so I’m sure he’ll get a little playing time this week. I know those guys are up for the challenge. I’m excited to see a lot of them play.”
Taylor, 30, is an eight-year veteran who played for the Dolphins in his first three NFL seasons. He has appeared in 90 career games with 40 starts.
Allen (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) is a third-year pro from Boise State. He entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017. Allen appeared in 16 games over his first two seasons and played exclusively on special teams.
White, the No. 6 overall pick of the Chicago Bears in 2015, was likely activated in case Deebo Samuel is not available. Samuel did not practice on Thursday and Friday due to a non-COVID-19 illness. White has appeared in 14 career games with five starts. He has just 25 receptions for 285 yards in his injury-plagued career.