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SANTA CLARA -- Before we get into the reasons Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial were inactive for the 49ers’ season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, let’s first address why only 46 players are allowed to suit up.
The regular-season roster maximum for every NFL team is 53 players. Ninety minutes before kickoff, every team must submit a list of inactive players to allow them to reach the game-day limit of 46 players who will be allowed to play in the game.
The reason is for competitive balance. The NFL wants each team to have an equal number of players in uniform. If one team has two players who are injured and unable to play and the other team has six players who are injured, that creates an advantage of numbers for one team.
OK, we covered that.
Now, onto why the 49ers decided to suit up reserve defensive linemen Demarcus Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie behind starters Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Ian Williams. . .
Jerod-Eddie played 18 snaps, while Dobbs played 16 on defense. Dobbs was on the field for 11 special-teams plays. Jerod-Eddie saw action on five special-teams plays.
“Special teams does play a role in there,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “Dobbs is a contributor on the special teams. When you only dress five D-linemen, those guys have to have some versatility.
“Dobbs can play in the base and in the sub (nickel situations). He plays in special teams, so he adds a little bit more there when you’re only dressing five. If you’re ever able to dress six, which would be unusual but possible, then those other guys may be able to factor into it.”