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Kaepernick, Harbaugh downplay Dahl’s claim of tipped plays

Harbaugh Getty Images

On Wednesday, 49ers safety Craig Dahl said that his old team (the Rams) went 1-0-1 against his new team last year in part because the San Fran offense was letting it be known via formations and personnel whether a run or a pass was coming.

On Thursday, the team’s quarterback and head coach predictably shrugged at the idea that poor self-scouting hurt the 49ers.

The transcript of Kaepernick’s media session, posted by Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, further meshes with his growing reputation as a guarded-to-the-point-of-paranoid interview subject, who is more apt to give an awkward response than an entertaining one.

Q:  Were you tipping plays?

A:  Tipping plays, as far as what?

Q:  Not disguising them so people could read them.

A:  Um, we put up quite a few points, so I think the coaches were doing all right.

Q:  There were reports out there –

A:  I don’t read reports.

Q:  What about the game in St. Louis?  Did they seem overly aggressive to know when to blitz and they seemed to have your number in that game?

A:  They had a good scheme. There were things in that game we should have made plays, I should have made different decisions. I’m not going to chalk something totally up to what a defense was doing. I look at ourselves, first.

A similarly flat response came from coach Jim Harbaugh.  Here’s the relevant part of his transcript, as distributed by the team.

Q:  What about Craig Dahl’s assertion that you guys were tipping passes last year?

A:  That we were tipping passes last year?

Q.  Well, you were telling –

A.  Yeah, after the first game we played the Rams we saw that we were doing that.

Q.  So, did you change them?

A.  Yes, yes, adjusted.

Q.  So you don’t think that was an issue the second time against St. Louis?

A.  Not as much.

Q.  Were you surprised when he came in then and immediately said it? I mean, you already knew it. But, he talked about it?

A.  Yeah, of course we asked him.

Q.  That helped?

A.  It confirmed what we knew.

Q.  How often does that happen in the NFL?

A.  Tips?

Q.  Yeah.

A.  Probably a lot. Yeah, a lot.

It makes sense that Kaepernick and Harbaugh would dance around the topic.  Dahl’s claim that the Niners tipped plays against the Rams invites speculation as to whether they tipped plays against other teams — most importantly against the Ravens.

In the Super Bowl.

When the 49ers called a bunch of pass plays when on the verge of what would have been the game-winning touchdown.

If Baltimore coach John Harbaugh had been able to figure out the same code Craig Dahl had cracked, that information would have been useful, to say the least, with the Super Bowl on the line.

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24 Responses to “Kaepernick, Harbaugh downplay Dahl’s claim of tipped plays”
  1. beavertonsteve says: Jun 14, 2013 12:12 AM

    I am not a Harbaugh fan, but that was some nice honesty-

    “Probably a lot. Yeah, a lot.”

    He might as well have said “always”.

    Why would you not ask your new player for tips?

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 14, 2013 12:15 AM

    Well that last question for Kaepernick started to get interesting but the interviewer didn’t follow up! He asked about what THEY were doing and Kaep clearly addressed that and said he focuses on what WE do. So the interviewer needed to circle back to a perspective that fits with the opening that Kaep just gave him!

    Where’s part 2 of the interview where he asks the good questions? Gee whiz. Not only do NFL teams and players make mistakes, but the reporters needed to bring their game to the table too!

    And to Harbaugh’s credit, he at least makes an attempt to be relatively honest about it. But hard to have an issue with his comments when he wasn’t pressed with really interesting and well-pointed questions either.

    This ALMOST became a good conversation, it’s like a boxing fight that gets stopped prematurely by a referee that steps in way too early. Just like the Lopez/Maidana fight from last weekend that was begging to be an epic all-time great fight until it was stopped abruptly for no good reason!

  3. hess97 says: Jun 14, 2013 12:39 AM

    Another useful tactic, to say the least, with the Super Bowl on the line, is to flat out hold the reciever trying to run his route. That’s about 100% effective in not letting him score.

  4. sameer1138 says: Jun 14, 2013 12:46 AM

    Sorry to break the news to you guys, but most 9ers fans were equally “tipped off” by the formations. We could usually tell whether our boys were running or passing, too!

  5. neeley34 says: Jun 14, 2013 1:03 AM

    Ever play poker with a relative? This is his brother and best friend. Of course Jon knew what he was doing. Sometime it comes down to making a play.

  6. goldrush94 says: Jun 14, 2013 1:12 AM

    Only reason there was even an second article written about this “issue” is because that punk Finnegan felt left out of all the 49ers/Seahawks hype and figured the only way he or the Rams can get into any discussion in the NFC west this year is by opening his mouth. None issue. Happens all the time. Next…

  7. sowcrates says: Jun 14, 2013 2:46 AM

    I’m sure tipping plays has a significant impact on games, but I think in an overdetermined or unpredictable way. Team A might ascertain that team B was passing every time they use personnel 1, but team B’s play book might be loaded with run plays for that formation that they simply haven’t run yet. It’s safe to say that lots of teams give draw plays up the middle a shot with 3 WR sets on 3rd and long, right? So it’s nuanced and varied. NFL plays can be like snowflakes, never again will the 22 players act and react that way again on another play. That’s why I love football!

    Besides, lets not get carried away about the 49ers personnel somehow giving away that they were going to pass when it was goal to go. Inside the 5 on either side of the field obeys its own laws about formations and play calling from the inner 90. Colin gave you the chance to run and to pass, it diversified your odds of success and increased your chance of profiting from what Baltimore tried to do on defense. I hated the dump pass call, but that they ran a pass play 3 times didn’t bother me.

  8. John says: Jun 14, 2013 3:25 AM

    One of the best parts of watching the niners play last year was all of those early down stacked runs with gore and hunter behind a d-lineman or one of the back up guards. Everyone in the stadium knew what was coming…but unlike an offense coached by Jimmy Raye, Harbaugh’s niners can consistently pick up 5 yrds jamming it down a D’s throat. Does it tip the play? Sure. Does it still work? Yup.

    As for The Fade, we’ll see how well the niners execute goal line plays this year. You could say I have faith in Harbaugh.

  9. belgaron says: Jun 14, 2013 3:51 AM

    He’s not a deep thinker or speaker but if you need him to pose like he’s spitting on his bicep, he’s your man.

  10. theysone says: Jun 14, 2013 3:58 AM

    God Kaepernick is dense.

  11. tjadeterborg says: Jun 14, 2013 4:14 AM

    I’m confused.. So why exactly would a team tip off plays to their opponent?

  12. panthrobro says: Jun 14, 2013 4:15 AM

    49ers are a joke. Craig Dahl had u figured out. Go back to college Harhahaha . You got called out by a back up lol.

  13. ilcattivo118 says: Jun 14, 2013 4:19 AM

    Anyone else see a Tip-Gate on the horizon…

    Due another ‘gate’ in the NFL aren’t we…!

  14. sourdoughsam says: Jun 14, 2013 4:21 AM

    What do you guys expect? The team policy is to not discuss scheme with the media. On game day, the play callers on both sides are making educated guesses, so guarding your gameplan isn’t paranoia – it’s discipline. Many of us who have coached the game know the old saying: “Loose lips sink ships.” Great coaches relish the opportunity to talk football and share ideas, but they always consider the who, what, when, and where. As a Niners fan, I cringed everytime Singletary reiterated to the rest of the NFL that his team’s offense was going to be one-dimensional before his first full season as head coach. I’m perfectly fine with Harbaugh not telling the media anything.

  15. jimmyt says: Jun 14, 2013 7:04 AM

    Jim Harbaugh is a dolt. Can’t wait to see how many penalties that loud mouth draws by running on the field screaming at ref’s.

  16. polamalurulz43 says: Jun 14, 2013 7:05 AM

    Yeah, I bet that cost them the Super Bowl – Bill Callahan, offensive coordinator in the truest sense, Dallas Cowboys.

  17. ddogdaddy says: Jun 14, 2013 7:10 AM

    The”code”. It sounds so exciting, not.

  18. allboutstyle says: Jun 14, 2013 7:24 AM

    I love how Harbaugh goes out of his way to get caught on camera saying that he won’t talk about anything until the cameras are gone. Like not divulging important team information is his brand new idea. Now he has his QB following his lead. What a turd.

  19. whatjusthapped says: Jun 14, 2013 7:44 AM

    Any evidence of that or is it just a suggestion to get the 49er fans riled up?

  20. scottishram says: Jun 14, 2013 8:08 AM

    The fact the 49ers couldn’t beat the Rams must have been because the 49ers were tipping plays. It was obviously nothing to do with a young, hungry D trying to prove themselves. I know we haven’t been great recently but sometimes you just have to give credit where it’s due- we played two great games against the 9ers last year.

  21. floratiotime says: Jun 14, 2013 8:41 AM

    Jim Harbaugh really isn’t that good a coach. He’s got a talented team … much of it handed to him … but he’s botched and mishandled many gameday situations. His decision making under pressure is lacking.

  22. marima07 says: Jun 14, 2013 8:59 AM

    Interesting. You mean a coach and players might have the ability – through watching league-issued game film – to figure out what another team is doing WITHOUT a spygate-type scenario?

    Well then maybe, just maybe, the Patriots might have taken more advantage of studying that film instead of defenive signals (that can change from week to week?) What a concept.

  23. destructicus says: Jun 14, 2013 10:38 AM

    This line of questioning would make more sense to me if the 49ers weren’t better than 30 other teams last year.

  24. redandgoldhitman52 says: Jun 17, 2013 11:27 AM

    ahh, i love waking up in the morning to read my 49er posts. the haterade comes in many flavors. :)

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