HOUSTON – Before the 49ers’ defensive line competes on Sundays, a healthy battle appears to be taking place on the practice field among themselves during the week.
With 11 defensive linemen on the team’s 53-man roster, one big decision on game days for the coaching staff is to determine which eight players will suit up.
On Sunday, defensive linemen Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine got the nod, while Ronald Blair and Leger Douzable were relegated to watching from the sideline in team-issued sweats.
Lynch and Carradine played 27 and 26 snaps, respectively, as part of the team’s defensive line rotation in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Lynch was on the cusp of getting released just two weeks earlier, according to a source. But after two strong weeks of practices, he was active for the first time in six games. Lynch responded with four tackles and a fumble recovery.
Carradine, who was a healthy scratch a week earlier against the Chicago Bears, contributed two tackles.
Douzable had been one of the bright spots after being re-signed in the middle of the season due to a rash of injuries across the defensive front. Blair was inactive for the first time since he came off injured reserve with a thumb injury sustained during the exhibition season.
Recently claimed defensive linemen Sheldon Day and Cassius Marsh continued to see significant action. Day played 34 snaps, while Marsh saw action on 33 plays. Day and Marsh contributed two tackles apiece.
The 49ers had only one player who missed the game due to injury. Coach Kyle Shanahan said offensive tackle Trent Brown informed the team Sunday morning he would be unavailable due to a shoulder injury.
"I kind of had a feeling (Saturday) night just watching walk through, but didn’t know for sure until (Sunday) when he came in and let us know," Shanahan said.
Veteran Zane Beadles filled in for Brown at right tackle despite playing out of position.
"He’s definitely much more of an inside player," Shanahan said. "Zane doesn’t hesitate. He loves the challenge. He will go out there and battle anyone. That’s why he’s a guy we love going to war with because you know you’re going to get your best and he’s someone you can count on. I know all the players believe in him.”
Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 73
Running back – Carlos Hyde 41, Kyle Juszczyk 36, Matt Breida 32
Wide receiver – Marquise Goodwin 52, Trent Taylor 31, Kendrick Bourne 31, Louis Murphy 29, Aldrick Robinson 26
Tight end – Garrett Celek 61, George Kittle 20, Logan Paulsen 6
Offensive line – Joe Staley 73, Zane Beadles 73, Laken Tomlinson 73, Daniel Kilgore 73, Brandon Fusco 73
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 53, Solomon Thomas 44, Sheldon Day 34, Cassius Marsh 33, Aaron Lynch 27, Elvis Dumervil 26, Tank Carradine 26, Earl Mitchell 25
Linebacker – Reuben Foster 67, Brock Coyle 48, Eli Harold 20
Cornerback – Ahkello Witherspoon 56, Dontae Johnson 52, K’Waun Williams 47, Greg Mabin 26, Leon Hall 19
Safety – Eric Reid 67, Adrian Colbert 67
Marsh 25, Dekoda Watson 23, Mark Nzeocha 19, Dexter McCoil 19, Elijah Lee 19, Mabin 19, Bradley Pinion 17, Harold 16, Robinson 15, Johnson 14, Kyle Nelson 11, Victory Bolden 10, Paulsen 10, Celek 10, Hall 9, Witherspoon 9, Robbie Gould 6, Darrell Williams 6, Buckner 6, Reid 6, Thomas 6, Staley 6, Beadles 6, Tomlinson 6, Kilgore 6, Fusco 6, Breida 6, Taylor 6, Colbert 5, Juszczyk 5, Coyle 4, Mitchell 4, Foster 2, K’Waun Williams 2, Lynch 1, Dumervil 1
DID NOT PLAY
QB C.J. Beathard
OL Tim Barnes
RB Jeremy McNichols
DB Antone Exum
LB Pita Taumoepenu
OT Trent Brown (shoulder)
DL Leger Douzable
DL D.J. Jones
DL Ronald Blair