San Francisco 49ers

Workload of 49ers pass-rusher Tank Carradine may increase

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes under pressure from San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks (55) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes under pressure from San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks (55) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Pittsburgh. AP

Ahmad Brooks is going through the league’s post-concussion protocol this week, which could create more opportunities for Tank Carradine to showcase his skills as an outside pass rusher.

Brooks played 58 of the team’s 78 defensive snaps in Seattle last Sunday and was not checked for a concussion during or after the game. But the outside linebacker arrived for work this week complaining of a headache, coach Jim Tomsula said Wednesday, which prompted team doctors to put him in the concussion protocol.

Brooks did not practice Wednesday. He ranks second on the team with four sacks, including one against the Seahawks; fellow outside linebacker Aaron Lynch has 6 1/2 sacks.

Backups Eli Harold and Corey Lemonier – who are both looking for their first sack of the season – are likely to take the bulk of the practice repetitions at outside linebacker in Brooks’ absence. But Carradine also figures to see increased work, Tomsula said.

Carradine began the season around 300 pounds, which is what most defensive linemen on the team weigh. But in recent weeks there’s been an effort to get him closer to his playing weight at Florida State, where he was an effective edge rusher in the school’s 4-3 defense.

Playing around 270 pounds, Carradine had 11 sacks in his final season at Florida State despite missing the last 2 1/2 games because of an ACL tear. The 49ers play a base 3-4 defense. But their alignment in passing situations calls for pass rushers who line up in a three-point stance, which is Carradine’s strength.

Tomsula said he thought Carradine had a good week of practice in the run-up to the Seattle game, which he mostly spent playing the role of Seahawks outside rusher Cliff Avril on the 49ers’ scout team. Carradine was inactive for the Seahawks game and didn’t play any snaps in the previous game against the Falcons.

“He’s changed the way he’s training,” Tomsula said of Carradine. “You can already see he’s slimmed down in his hips and things.”

Tomsula’s job security – Tomsula said he’s had no conversation with the 49ers’ front office about his job security but realizes his status for 2016 depends on his 2015 record.

“We’re in a performance-based business,” he said. “And all of us in (this business) get it. I don’t think or work that way. My long-term goal is Sunday. That’s just where I stay.”

At 3-7, the 49ers are technically the worst team in the NFC because the two other clubs with the same record, Dallas and Detroit, have better division records. The 49ers are 0-4 against the NFC West and face the division-leading Cardinals on Sunday. They’ve also scored fewer points than any team in the NFL.

Armstrong added – The 49ers placed Glenn Dorsey on injured reserve and filled his roster spot with linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, whom they claimed off of waivers from the Raiders.

Armstrong, 24, started the season as starting linebacker for the Raiders. But he lost that role after two games, then was the focus of a bizarre investigation in Pittsburgh in which he was accused of taunting a police dog, a third-degree felony, before a game against the Steelers. He was cleared last week.

Armstrong (6-3, 220) had 21 tackles and a sack for the Raiders this season. Dorsey, meanwhile, suffered an ACL tear on the 49ers’ first defensive snap Sunday. His spot on the field will be filled by rookie Arik Armstead.

Et cetera – Running back Carlos Hyde was not scheduled to practice Wednesday, Tomsula said. If Hyde misses Sunday’s game against Arizona, it will be the fifth game he’s sat out because of a stress fracture in his left foot. Hyde shook his head when asked if he would practice this week.

▪ Tomsula said cornerback Marcus Cromartie “earned opportunities” with his play against the Falcons on Nov. 8, which is why he entered Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. Though Kenneth Acker started the game, Cromartie played 47 snaps to Acker’s 31.

▪ Tomsula said the plan for Thursday was to practice and get the players out of the facility in time for Thanksgiving dinner. “The coaches – their meal will be a little later,” he said.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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