Through two exhibition games, the 49ers' defense has been outstanding.
Both the starting unit and the backups have yet to give up a touchdown in games against the Broncos and Chiefs.
“A lot of guys are stepping up and making plays,” linebacker Aldon Smith told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group after Friday night’s 15-13 victory over Kansas City.
While it’s hard to read too much into exhibition-game performance, the 49ers defense has been given a transfusion of young and veteran talent.
The return of linebacker Parys Haralson, the emergence of nose tackle Ian Williams and the play of rookie safety Eric Reid and veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha all have contributed.
Then, there’s Glenn Dorsey.
The former Chiefs first-round pick returned to Kansas City for last week’s exhibition game and continued his solid play this summer in his new uniform.
Dorsey is listed behind Williams on the defensive depth chart, but he’s been used in a variety of spots along the defensive front. Against the Chiefs, Dorsey and other members of the front seven put constant pressure on K.C. quarterbacks, sacking them seven times while also allowing just 72 rushing yards.
For Dorsey – who admitted to feeling the pressure of great expectations in Kansas City – it was a nice homecoming. During pregame warm-ups he was able to speak with some of his former teammates.
“It was cool to come back and see everybody,” Dorsey, 28, told 49ers.com. “It was a little awkward, but it was cool. I was glad I got to see everybody and talk to them.”
The Niners, meanwhile, think it’s been pretty cool to add Dorsey to the defensive front. His addition – and the emergence of Williams – should give San Francisco depth and versatility in the middle of the line. Both players also can play on the end of the line.
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has raved about his work this summer.
“Just doing a wonderful job,” Tomsula told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “Works at it and picks it up quick. I couldn’t say enough good things about Glenn Dorsey and where he’s at right now.”
In Kansas City, most of Dorsey’s work was at defensive end, so he’s taking a crash course in Nose Tackle 101.
“There’s more stuff (opponents) can do to you,” Dorsey told Barrows. “Inside, it’s a lot faster.”
Though he’s competing for playing time inside with Williams, Dorsey says Williams has become a good friend and teammate, helping him with the 49ers schemes.
“Ian works hard, man. He’s doing a tremendous job,” Dorsey told the Bee. “And he helps me out with the techniques and the terminology and the day-to-day stuff.”
For Tomsula, the addition of Dorsey is a big step forward for the 49ers in 2013.
“It’s the full package in that guy,” Tomsula told Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group. “Talented guy. Really smart. Really dedicated. Great work ethic. Everything there that you’d want.”