San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio met with the media Tuesday afternoon, and he provided some insight into the safety position. According to Fangio, if one of the safeties were to get hurt, the in-game replacement would be Craig Dahl. However, he also said that depending on the length of the injury, Jimmie Ward could factor into the mix after that particular game wrapped.
This is the most detail we've gotten as to Dahl's future with the team, at least in 2014. I think most of us have viewed him as being on the roster bubble, but this would seemingly indicate he will be on the 53-man roster. The team could always change their mind, but they seem more comfortable sticking with the veteran as a quick option during the game.
While Ward has the better long-term future, this would seem to make some sense during Ward's rookie year. If Eric Reid or Antoine Bethea was hurt in a game, moving Ward to safety means replacing the safety, and then going to their backup nickel. Additionally, it would seem like for a given game, Ward will be focusing on the defensive game plan as it applies to the nickel role. He probably will get some insight into the safety plan as well, but rather than complicate it too much this year, they might decide it is worth keeping it simple for Ward.
Fangio had some comments as well that were critical of Dahl's performance on the touchdown passes each of the last two weeks. Fangio said that in the Broncos game, they played the Manning touchdown incorrectly, and he said Dahl was among those not playing it correctly. As for the Chargers game, he said the team played it correctly, but Dahl was a little too far outside on the play. He acknowledged he might have been looking for help, but seemed to state Dahl could have been inside more.
I will have another 53-man roster projection tomorrow, but I'll probably have Dahl back in it. I had removed him previously, but this would seem to imply he will stick around.