Dahl: Rams are 'up-and-coming team'

Dahl: Rams are 'up-and-coming team'
June 19, 2013, 8:45 am
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Craig Dahl: "In St. Louis, the mentality was we always looked up to the 49ers as the staple of the NFC West." (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Safety Craig Dahl, who played 61 games the past four seasons for the St. Louis Rams, had a few things to say last week about his former team.

Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan did not take kindly to Dahl disclosing St. Louis picked up some keys against the 49ers' offense last season that provided them with clues on whether the 49ers would run or pass.

During that same interview, he spoke highly of the Rams, who finished last season in third place in the NFC West with a 7-8-1 record. The 49ers won the division at 11-4-1, while the Seahawks were second at 11-5.

With all the talk this offseason about the 49ers and the Seahawks being among the top teams in the NFC, I asked Dahl if he believes the Rams deserve mention in that category, too.

"I think they're an up-and-coming team," Dahl said. "I think they have a lot of great talent, a good coaching staff, and a lot of young guys played well for the Rams last year. They're definitely going to be a team to watch out for."

Dahl said the Rams definitely got up to play the 49ers. The Rams twice took the 49ers to overtime, tying in the team's first meeting at Candlestick Park before beating the 49ers in St. Louis.

"I know in St. Louis, the mentality was we always looked up to the 49ers as the staple of the NFC West," Dahl said. "They had the target on their back, the 49ers did. And we were out there gunning for them, and everyone seemed to raise their level of play that week."

Dahl started all 16 games for the Rams last season at safety. The 49ers signed him to a three-year, $5.25 million contract. He will compete against first-round draft pick Eric Reid for playing time during training camp.