Former Rams safety Craig Dahl (43) is a sure tackler who says he'll be happy to play on 49ers' special teams this season. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The 49ers this offseason signed veteran safety Craig Dahl after losing starting safety Dashon Goldson in free agency.
It appears, however, that if Dahl doesn’t win a starting job over No. 1 draft choice Eric Reid, he’ll be fine with handling any role the 49ers give him.
As the 49ers head into the 2013 season, Dahl figures to provide valuable depth at the safety position while also helping on special teams if Reid earns a starting spot as expected.
On Monday, Dahl, 28, a former standout at North Dakota State, told the Dickinson Press in North Dakota that he’s eager to contribute to a team that’s going for a third straight NFC West championship and has been ranked by many to be a Super Bowl contender.
“I have to understand my role and fit in when I can,” Dahl told the paper. “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. I’ve played special teams my entire career. I’m no stranger to that.”
Dahl, in fact, is one of several players added to the 49ers roster this offseason who could contribute to making the Niners’ special teams much better.
Last season, the 49ers’ field goal, kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt-return teams dipped significantly from the way they performed in 2011. In ratings by the Dallas Morning News covering 22 categories, San Francisco's special teams dropped from being ranked No. 1 in 2011 to No. 15 in 2012.
In response, the 49ers this offseason brought in a new kicker in veteran Phil Dawson and signed such special teams standouts as receiver Kassim Osgood, safety Raymond Ventrone, linebacker Dan Skuta and receiver Marlon Moore. Dahl, too, brings a lot of experience and ability as a sure tackler. Over the past four seasons, Dahl has made 38 tackles on special teams.
As a safety in St. Louis in 2012, Dahl had 78 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.
When the 49ers signed Dahl in March, general manager Trent Baalke praised him for his experience and “excellent intangibles.” Those intangibles no doubt include his willingness to contribute any way he can, including as a backup to Reid or on special teams.