The 49ers placed Ian Williams, who began last season as their starter at nose tackle, on the physically-unable-to-perform list today. Williams was injured early in the second game of the season when he was cut block by Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy. The hit did not result in a penalty at the time, but it would this year after a rule was passed in the offseason that penalizes blockers from rolling up on the back or side of the legs of a defender.
Williams suffered extensive ligament damage as well as broken bone, and he has undergone four surgeries since the event. Placing him on PUP now means the 49ers can put him on the PUP list at the start of the season and he will not count against their 53-man roster. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman (ACL) likely will be placed on the same list.
With Williams sidelined last year, Glenn Dorsey took over at nose tackle and played well. Dorsey likely will start at the position this year with Quinton Dial perhaps being his backup. The 49ers only use three defensive linemen at a time -- and just two on passing downs -- but have an abundance of players at that position. Williams’ designation means that, early on at least, the team may be able to retain a player they otherwise might have cut.