Dahl: 49ers tipped plays versus Rams
Craig Dahl: "We had a few tips off of film that we were able to differentiate between run and pass early." (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SANTA CLARA -- The addition of a defensive mind to the 49ers' offensive coaching staff makes a lot more sense Wednesday after new 49ers safety Craig Dahl shed some light on the secret to the St. Louis Rams' success last season against the NFC champions.
Dahl was a starting safety for the Rams last season. The Rams finished third in the NFC West with a 7-9 record, but the Rams twice took the 49ers to overtime with one victory and one tie.
CSNBayArea.com asked Dahl why the Rams were so successful against the 49ers last season. His answer was fascinating.
"We had a few tips off of film that we were able to differentiate between run and pass early," Dahl answered. "So that kind of gave us an added benefit on defense.
"It was a few different things. Some different personnel and alignment stuff really were the big keys, as far as our giveaways."
The 49ers signed Dahl to a three-year, $5.25 million contract this offseason that includes $700,000 in guaranteed. Dahl immediately paid dividends to the 49ers with his disclosure to San Francisco's offensive coaches that the Rams had picked up on some tendencies.
"It's stuff that's been corrected," Dahl said. "It's just them discussing what kind of things we prepared for when I was in St. Louis last year, as far as scouting and different things we saw game-planning against the 49ers' offense. Kind of working with the offensive coaches on that aspect, and also kind of giving them tips and tendencies on their offense.
"It's been addressed and corrected. They knew most of it before I even got here, and it's re-confirming. It's just on-going, self-studying and self-scouting stuff. Got that cleared up, too."
Perhaps not coincidentally, the 49ers last week hired former defensive coach Eric Mangini as senior offensive consultant to help the 49ers' offense remain one step ahead of opponents.
A large part of Mangini's job will consist of studying the 49ers' offense and trying to detect tendencies that a defense believes it can exploit against the 49ers -- such as Rams coach Jeff Fisher and his staff did against them last season.
In 10 quarters against the Rams, the 49ers scored just 37 points in two overtime games -- or about 15 points per four quarters of play. In the other 14 regular-season games, the 49ers averaged 25.7 points per game.