Earlier this offseason, the 49ers signed safety Craig Dahl, leading to assorted hand-wringing about what it meant for the safety position. The Rams fans I spoke to actually were happy the 49ers had signed Dahl, so that says a little something, I suppose.
Throughout the offseason workout program, Dahl got in work at the 49ers No. 1 free safety position. Over the course of the final two weeks, he split time with C.J. Spillman and first round pick Eric Reid. Additionally, there was rotation at strong safety behind Donte Whitner.
At this point, I think most of us expect Eric Reid to win the first team job soon. If he is not already going to get the majority of first team snaps at the start of training camp, one has to imagine he takes over completely within a week or two. The 49ers are investing fairly heavily in him, and there other options have plenty of question marks.
Dahl might have provided some unintended details in a recent interview. Yesterday, the North Dakota State alum spoke with The Dickinson Press, while he was in Fargo, ND for a celebrity golf tournament. He spoke about the safety role, as well as special teams:
"Both of their safeties are interchangeable so it's a benefit to play and learn both positions," said Dahl, who was back in Fargo golfing on Monday during the 30th annual Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament at Rose Creek Golf Course.
"I have to understand my role and fit in when I can," Dahl said. "It should be a fun side of the ball to play in San Francisco.
"This year they had an added emphasis on boosting their special teams," Dahl added. "I've played special teams my entire career. I'm no stranger to that."
He started with the safety position discussion, but his final comment on special teams is the one on which I focus. I think at this point, he is likely to end up with a fairly significant role on special teams. He could fill in an emergency safety role, but other than that, I don't see much more. I see him competing with C.J. Spillman for a similar role. Spillman spent most of his time last season on special teams, but also was brought in for the 49ers goal line defensive package.
Assuming Reid shows enough competence to claim the free safety job, I don't see much more of a role for Spillman or Dahl at this point.