During the NFL season teams will deal with injuries, and as a result backup players will have to step up and contribute to the success of a team. The San Francisco 49ers are no different in this aspect as a season-ending injury to nose tackle Ian Williams and an ankle injury to Ray McDonald have seen the depth of the 49ers’ defensive line tested. While many have noticed how well free agent signing Glenn Dorsey has played, the play of second-year defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie has been equally important in seeing the play of the defense continue to stay at a high level.
Jerod-Eddie has come in and picked up where McDonald has left off in terms of being a solid contributor for a 49ers defense that has continued to play at a high level and give the 49ers a chance to win games. Jerod-Eddie’s statistics through 11 games so far have seen him accumulate 19 tackles, 13 of those solo tackles, with one interception and a fumble recovery.
Yet the statistics do not tell the whole story with regards to the contribution that Jerod-Eddie has been able to deliver for the 49ers’ defense in the absence of a 100 percent Ray McDonald. All 49ers defensive linemen are asked to help shield and protect the linebackers from opposing offensive linemen so they can make plays and wreak havoc. In this respect Jerod-Eddie has done his job well as the performance of Patrick Willis on Monday night was in part due to the play of Jerod-Eddie who won his matchups at the line of scrimmage.
The amount of playing time that Jerod-Eddie will see on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams and in the remaining games will be determined by coaching decisions and health of his fellow defensive linemen. Independent of that, it is clear that Jerod-Eddie has earned himself that chance to play regularly and be rotated in on a regular basis as he has stepped up and become a viable contributor for the 49ers’ defense.