49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 19, 2013
Dahl says Rams regretted knocking Alex Smith from game


Knocking the starting quarterback from the game is generally the opposing team's objective. But former Rams safety - and recently hired 49er - Craig Dahl admitted today that his old team immediately regretted that scenario when Alex Smith left the teams' Nov. 11 meeting.

At the time, the Rams were leading 14-7. Colin Kaepernick, however, entered and led second-half drives that first gave the 49ers the lead, and after the Rams took it back, sent the game to overtime. Both teams missed field goals and the contest ended in a 24-24 tie.

To be fair to Smith, he threw a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree after suffering his concussion. It was his last throw of the game. He was 7-8 for 72 yards and had a 143.8 rating at the time. It also needs to be pointed out that the Rams defensive back beaten on the Crabtree touchdown was ... wait for it, wait for it ... Dahl. You can watch the score here.

"It was like, 'Who is this guy? Where'd he come from? How'd he get so fast?,'" Dahl said of Kaepernick on 95.7 The Game this morning. "It was tough from a secondary standpoint, we weren't able to get pressure on him like we were Alex ... It was kind of like, 'Man, I wish we could have kept Alex in the game.'"

It also should be pointed out that a Kaepernick mistake in the rematch -- a botched pitch to Ted Ginn - -helped erase a 49ers lead. That game also went to overtime, and the Rams won it with a field goal.

The 49ers obviously like Dahl for his smarts. He has an engineering degree from North Dakota State and he's a former high school quarterback. He said having played quarterback translates nicely to safety from a leadership, communication and vision standpoint. Both positions, he said, require "big perif" -- being able to see the whole field all the time.

The signing also got a thumbs up from former Colts personnel guru Bill Polian, who also appeared on 95.7 The Game and who added to the notion that the 49ers will draft a safety next month. "I think they did a good job by adding Dahl," Polian said. "Remember, the quarterback of that defense was not (Dashon) Goldson. It was the Ohio State guy (Donte Whitner). So that's No. 1. The guy who makes those calls and make everybody line up back there is the most important guy as good a player as Goldson. ... The draft is filled with safeties, they'll get a good player there, and he'll spend a year or a little more learning the system and then be ready to step in and go."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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