NFL Nation: Demarcus Dobbs

Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:


Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.


The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.


The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.


If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.


Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.


This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.


Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.


This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.


Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.


This group is set and it's excellent.

49ers contract status update

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
Free agency starts in 11 days. Along with every other team, the San Francisco 49ers are putting together their final plans. The 49ers are in pretty nice shape. They are poised to be $15-16 million under the salary cap.

The team has gained cap room by reducing deals for backup safety Craig Dahl and backup receiver Jon Baldwin. They want cornerback Carlos Rogers back at a much reduced salary from the $6 million he is due. If he doesn't accept a pay cut, he will likely be cut. General manager Trent Baalke has said he doesn't think the team needs to reduce the salary of running back Frank Gore, who is set to make $6.4 million.

The deadline giving a player the franchise tag is Monday. The 49ers are not expected to use the tag. They have been close to a deal with receiver Anquan Boldin. Boldin, 33, is likely looking at a two- or three-year deal. He could be paid up to $17 million if it is a three-year deal. The team's other priority free agents are safety Donte Whitner, kicker Phil Dawson and cornerback Tarell Brown.

The 49ers extended the deal of Daniel Kilgore on Thursday. He was set to be a free agent next year. That means he is in line to start next year and that the 49ers likely won't re-sign Jonathan Goodwin, who started at center the past three years.

The team is not expected to give the restricted free-agent tender to backup defensive lineman DeMarcus Dobbs and cornerback Perrish Cox. That would make them unrestricted free agents.

Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final Power Ranking: 4
Preseason Power Ranking: 2

Biggest surprise: The impact that Michael Crabtree's injury and then his return had on the team. When Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles in May, the 49ers knew it would affect their offense. But his absence was felt dramatically during the 11 games he was out. The 49ers had essentially nothing behind receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis in the passing game. However, when he returned Dec. 1, the 49ers were instantly a better, more varied, dangerous offense. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was more confident. The difference was stark.

Biggest disappointment: The loss at New Orleans on Nov. 17. The 49ers appeared to have sealed the game when linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked and forced New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees to fumble late. But Brooks was called for a questionable personal foul. The Saints rallied to win. It was a major storyline in the NFL that week. Had the 49ers won, they would have finished 13-3, won a tiebreaker over Seattle in the NFC West and would not have had to play at Seattle in the playoffs.

Biggest need: The 49ers are deep. They don't have many holes. But they can use another young receiver. Boldin is 33 and a free agent. Fourth-round pick Quinton Patton looks promising, but San Francisco will likely take a speed receiver early in the draft. Expect the team to take a cornerback fairly early as well. The 49ers need to develop a young player there.

Team MVP: Inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman. The 25-year-old had an amazing season. He is an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He was dominant in virtually every game. He is a special playmaker. It was a sad sight seeing him being carted off in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss at Seattle with a major knee injury. Bowman is expected back next season. The 49ers need him.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Carlos Rogers is missing practice for the fifth straight practice with a hamstring injury.

The San Francisco 49ers cornerback said Thursday that he hopes to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. However, he must practice if he is going to play. San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he doesn’t expect Rogers to play against the Panthers if he doesn’t practice. That means Rogers must practice Friday before the 49ers fly to North Carolina.

Rogers has been running this week.

“I have to be smart,” he said. “I don’t know if I will be ready, but I am trying.”

All indications are that if Rogers can’t play, Perrish Cox will be the nickel cornerback. He played virtually the entire game at Green Bay over veteran Eric Wright. Fangio said the team went with Cox, who was signed earlier in the week, because he had a better week of practice than Wright.

Rotational defensive tackle DeMarcus Dobbs (knee) returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s session.

In other 49ers notes:

Fangio said he has had no contact with any teams about a head-coaching job. ESPN reported that the Redskins were interested in him. However, they hired Jay Gruden on Thursday.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman called talk that he interviewed for the Penn State job “speculation.” The school reportedly will hire Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. Roman’s name has also been attached to the open Minnesota Vikings job.

In an Insider piece, Matt Williamson thinks 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be a weak link at Carolina. He certainly was the last time these two teams played. But will it happen again?

ESPN Stats & Information has a matchup to watch in the game.

49ers enjoying strong health

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While cornerback Carlos Rogers' hamstring injury continues to linger, the San Francisco 49ers head into their NFC divisional playoff game at Carolina in solid overall health.

Earlier Wednesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he liked his team’s overall health going into the game and the team's injury report confirmed the 49ers are in solid shape.

The following San Francisco players missed practice Wednesday: defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs (knee, shoulder), center Jonathan Goodwin (not injury related), defensive tackle Justin Smith (shoulder) and Rogers.

Smith and Goodwin routinely don’t practice on Wednesdays and Dobbs is a backup. If Rogers, who didn’t play at Green Bay, can’t play Sunday, Perrish Cox and Eric Wright will play the nickel spot for him.

In other 49ers notes:

Harbaugh said this when asked to explain how much fun he’s having coaching in the playoffs: “This is as much fun as you can possibly have in football and as much fun as you can have in life, yeah.”

Harbaugh said he thought the 49ers matched up well physically against the tough-and-tumble Panthers in Carolina’s 10-9 win in San Francisco on Nov. 10.

Harbaugh complemented the Panthers' defensive front seven by saying it was the most talented group the 49ers have played this season.

Vernon Davis, Eric Reid are active

November, 17, 2013
NEW ORLEANS -- As expected, star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid have been cleared to play Sunday at New Orleans.

Both players suffered concussions last week against Carolina. They both quickly recovered and showed strong progress through the week.

The 49ers need both players. Davis has been the catalyst to the offense. Reid has been outstanding all season and he will be needed against the pass-happy Saints.

Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs will start for defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who is out with a high left ankle sprain. Dobbs will rotate with Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Rookie defensive tackle Tank Carradine is inactive. He has been on the 53-man roster for two games but he hasn’t played yet. As expected, tight end Derek Carrier is active. He was promoted from the practice squad Sunday. Tight end Garrett Celek is out with a hamstring injury. Carrier will play in some alignments.
LONDON – The San Francisco 49ers roster is about to change.

The 6-2 49ers -- who have won five straight games going into their bye week -- are poised to get much better. They have six players who are likely to come off various different injury/illness lists including linebacker Aldon Smith, receivers Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree, cornerback Eric Wright, rookie defensive lineman Tank Carradine and rookie linebacker Nick Moody.

The 49ers will have to subtract from the 53-man roster with each activation. It will be interesting because this is a deep roster and some good, young players will be out. But that’s the trouble with having a good team. There’s no doubt the 49ers will get markedly better with the return of most of these players.

Here are some candidates to be removed from the roster: Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, receivers Marlon Moore and Quinton Patton (only if he is put on the injured reserve because his foot is not responding), linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, No. 3 quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs.

The most likely to go are Asomugha, Moore and Cunningham. They have not had a role in the past several weeks.

Complicating matters (again, which is a positive in the big picture) is the special teams coverage units are much improved. So players like Kassim Osgood, Bubba Ventrone, Darryl Morris, Nate Stupar and Anthony Dixon will be difficult to cut even though their role is nearly all special teams. The 49ers know improved special teams make them much more dangerous and that’s difficult to tinker with.

The roster roulette will likely start to occur next week. Manningham, Wright and Carradine all must be activated by early next week.

How do 49ers replace Aldon Smith?

September, 23, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Now that linebacker Aldon Smith is out for likely a month as he seeks treatment for a personal matter, where does that leave the San Francisco 49ers' defense?

Smith is on the reserve/non-football-illness list. He can return when cleared by physicians. The 49ers (1-2) play Jacksonville in London in Week 8, on Oct. 27; their bye week follows. Smith can come off the reserve list at any time -- something that is only allowed during the season if the player has substance-abuse issues. The NFL Players Association is also keeping abreast of the matter, as is customary in these situations.

Smith is a supreme pass-rusher. He had 37 sacks in 35 games since the beginning of his rookie season in 2011 (tops in the NFL during that span), including 3.5 this season. The 49ers will have to pick up the slack elsewhere.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said linebackers Ahmad Brooks, Dan Skuta and rookie Corey Lemonier will be called on; Skuta is listed as the starter in Smith’s absence.

Defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs can help in nickel-defense situations. The team could also sign a pass-rusher. Regardless, it will be tough for any of those players to have Smith's impact. He was a sack threat on nearly every passing down.

The team will need a complete defensive effort without Smith. ESPN analyst Matt Williamson believes Smith’s absence could expose the 49ers secondary.

“They definitely have problems and I do worry about their pass rush quite a bit,” Williamson said. “I think it has masked a very average secondary over the past few seasons.”

The San Francisco defense allowed 84 points in three games with Smith and it has been vulnerable, especially in the running game. Now without Smith, San Francisco has to find a way to hold defensively. But there are no easy answers.

Six NFC West suspensions and counting

August, 14, 2013
The suspensions NFC West players Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Demarcus Dobbs incurred Wednesday brought to six the total for the division this offseason.

The St. Louis Rams account for three of them after the NFL levied a four-game suspension against Dunbar, a linebacker, under its policy against performance-enhancing drugs. Dunbar denied taking PEDs and said he ingested a banned substance unknowingly. Current teammate Isaiah Pead and former teammate Rokevious Watkins, since released, face one-game bans for violating the NFL's policy on substance abuse.

Dunbar will be missed. He played better than 98 percent of the defensive snaps last season and finished with 4.5 sacks. Veteran Will Witherspoon is the most logical fill-in for Dunbar when the Rams open the season with games against Arizona, Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco.

Dobbs, suspended for one game under the substance-abuse policy, played 41 snaps on the defensive line last season. He also provided insurance at tight end.

The chart below ranks suspended NFC West players by base salary lost. Players lose one-seventeenth of their base salaries for every game suspended. They can also reduce their chances for earning incentives.

NEW ORLEANS -- Safety Ed Reed and cornerback Cary Williams were the only Baltimore Ravens defenders to start every regular-season game for the AFC champions this season.

The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers had nine defenders start every game.

Overall, the 49ers had 17 players start 16 games during the regular season. Eight Ravens players started 16 games apiece.

Roster health won't grab headlines the way brotherly coaching rivalries will grab them at the Super Bowl this week, but we all know which subject matters more.

The Ravens have gotten healthier lately, welcoming back Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis to their defensive lineup. But in looking at injured reserve lists for each Super Bowl team, the 49ers come out OK.

Baltimore's IR list features top cornerback Lardarius Webb, inside linebacker Jameel McClain and guard Jah Reid, all starters. It features special-teams contributors LaQuan Williams and Bobby Rainey, plus lesser contributors such as Damien Berry, Emanuel Cook, Christian Thompson, Tommy Streeter and Anthony Levine.

The 49ers' IR list features starting receiver Mario Manningham, No. 2 running back Kendall Hunter, third/fourth receiver Kyle Williams, backup outside linebacker Parys Haralson and backup tight end Demarcus Dobbs.

Defensive lineman Justin Smith's ability to return from a triceps injury suffered in Week 15 has been key for the 49ers. Smith, Suggs and Lewis all returned from arm injuries that threatened to end their seasons.
The Seattle Seahawks added defensive end Chris Clemons and kicker Steven Hauschka to their injured reserve lists this week.

Rookie Bruce Irvin, the 15th overall choice in the draft, will start in Clemons' place. Recently signed veteran Ryan Longwell will handle kicking duties for Hauschka.

Those moves led me to compile IR lists for remaining NFC playoff teams. I used the reserve lists at, which updates its rosters daily.

Three things revisited: 49ers-Broncos

August, 26, 2012
Looking back on three things discussed here before the San Francisco 49ers' 29-24 preseason victory Sunday at Denver:

1. Starting QBs. Peyton Manning played his best game of the preseason, completing 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers, playing without top pass-rusher Aldon Smith, did not pressure Manning much. When they did, Manning showed he could deliver the ball downfield before withstanding a big hit that snapped his head back, putting to the test his surgically repaired neck.

Alex Smith's day for the 49ers wasn't quite as good. A short snap from center Jonathan Goodwin wound up on the ground, where the Broncos recovered it. Smith took a huge hit while delivering a short third-down pass for a conversion. Smith hung in, eventually finding Vernon Davis for a 44-yard touchdown. He completed 5 of 7 passes for 69 yards and did not throw an interception. Smith was pretty good. Manning was ... Manning.

2. Two-way threat. I'm guessing Demarcus Dobbs will emerge as the third tight end and part of the rotation on the defensive line, saving a roster spot for the 49ers. Konrad Reuland, also competing as the third tight end, did get into the game with the first-team offense, ahead of Dobbs. That doesn't necessarily tell us anything. Reuland had a 16-yard reception. But with the 49ers using defensive linemen as extra blockers, they appear in position to keep Dobbs as the third and final tight end on the 53-man roster.

3. Perrish's push. The 49ers' secondary struggled against Manning, but when backup Caleb Hanie came into the game, 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox stood out right away. Cox picked off a pass, his second interception of the preseason. Cox wasn't perfect as a tackler, but he appears to have created a role for himself within the 49ers' sub packages.

Three things: 49ers-Broncos

August, 26, 2012
Three things to watch for Sunday night in the San Francisco 49ers' third exhibition game, this one at Denver (4 p.m. ET):

1. Starting QBs. The 49ers have Alex Smith. The Broncos have Peyton Manning. The 49ers have gone out of their way to frame their offseason interest in Manning as nothing more than routine investigative work on an available free agent. The excitement over Manning's arrival in Denver has been intense enough to obscure significant questions about his physical prospects following four neck surgeries. I'm interested in seeing how well Manning throw the ball downfield, and how well Smith plays by comparison. Can Manning still sling the deeper passes with authority? And can the 49ers' pass-rush, a bit muted at times this preseason, get to him?

2. Two-way threat. Demarcus Dobbs has impressed the 49ers on both sides of the ball. He figures to get playing time as a pass-rusher on defense, particularly with Aldon Smith limited by injury (and possibly not available for this game). The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Dobbs also has a chance to emerge from this preseason as the third tight end behind Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. Any work he gets at the position will be worth monitoring as well. Coach Jim Harbaugh has sounded enthusiastic regarding Dobbs' prospects as a two-way threat. Dobbs, 24, did play both defensive end and tight end in high school, but he was a defensive player at the University of Georgia.

3. Perrish's push. The lead-in should sound familiar. It's a repeat from last week. The note should be a lot more relevant this time. Cornerback Perrish Cox, who missed the 49ers' most recent game, is expected to play in this one. He's been a welcome addition to the 49ers' secondary this offseason, pushing Chris Culliver for a spot in the 49ers' nickel defense. Cox last played in a regular-season game as a rookie with Denver in 2010. If getting a chance to face his former team weren't enough, Cox also gets a shot at Manning. That's enough to get any defensive back's attention.
Brandon from St. Paul, Minn., wants to know how contracts work for undrafted free agents.

"I could be mistaken," he writes, "but I can't imagine many receive multi-year deals. What happens when someone like Doug Baldwin proves to be a huge asset?"

Mike Sando: Baldwin became the first undrafted rookie free agent since Bill Groman in 1960 to lead his ream in receptions and receiving yardage.

That was great for Baldwin, but arguably even better for the Seattle Seahawks.

The collective bargaining agreement requires undrafted rookies to sign three-year deals. Baldwin received a $17,500 signing bonus on a deal averaging about $470,000 per year. That's great money in the real world, but not for an NFL player leading his team in key statistical categories.

Baldwin is pretty much stuck. The Seahawks hold his rights for the next two seasons. At that point, they can tender him as a restricted free agent, discouraging other teams from making offers. The team could seek an extension at any time, but I see little reason for the Seahawks to do that at this point.

Brandon's question is a good one as teams hold camps for drafted and undrafted free agents. All four NFC West teams have rookie camps beginning Friday. The undrafted free agents will sign three-year deals. Quite a few others will participate in camps on a tryout basis, with three-year deals potentially awaiting them.

Securing mandatory three-year deals for undrafted free agents stood as a small victory for NFL owners in labor negotiations. Teams can terminate those contracts at any time without paying future salaries, but players have no realistic recourse if they perform well enough to stick around. Holding out wouldn't make any sense.

Baldwin wasn't the only undrafted rookie to make an impact in the NFC West last season. The 49ers were happy with defensive linemen Demarcus Dobbs and Ian Williams. They'll have left guard Mike Iupati's younger brother, Andrew, in camp on a tryout basis this weekend, Matt Barrows reports.

Seattle's Brandon Browner was undrafted and new to the NFL last season, but he had played professionally in Canada.

Gallery, Hawthorne, Rice miss for Seattle

September, 11, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Seattle Seahawks will be without three starters for their regular-season opener against San Francisco.

Two came as little surprise. Guard Robert Gallery (knee) and receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) did not practice all week. A third, linebacker David Hawthorne, was limited during practice, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had sounded optimistic about Hawthorne's chances.

Rookie K.J. Wright will start at middle linebacker in Hawthorne's place. Carroll has lauded Wright as being ready to play as a rookie, but Hawthorne's experience would have carried value.

James Carpenter will start at left guard for Gallery. Breno Giacomini starts at right tackle, where Carpenter had played during preseason.

Seattle inactives: quarterback Josh Portis, receiver Kris Durham, Rice, Hawthorne, Gallery, tackle Jarriel King, defensive tackle Al Woods.

San Francisco inactives: quarterback Scott Tolzien, receiver Kyle Williams, free safety Dashon Goldson, offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore, offensive lineman Mike Person, nose tackle Ian Williams and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs.

Veteran safety Madieu Williams will start in Goldson's place, as expected. Reggie Smith is also active among safeties after missing time to injury over the summer. He's expected to play on special teams as well as on defense.


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