Will San Francisco 49ers’ DT Quinton Dial go quietly now that the 49ers have signed free agent DT Earl Mitchell? Fearless Predictions: Why DT Quinton Dial won’t Go Quietly, “I’m Going Deep.”
When the San Francisco 49ers signed Earl Mitchell to a four-year 16 million dollar deal in free agency with $5.5 million slated for 2017 (NFL.com), a lot of the sports world/media and fans penciled him in as the incumbent starter come day one. In fact, he’s been called a tone setter/high priority signing by General Manger John Lynch and an impact player (via the team’s website). I wonder if anyone really thought Mr. Dial would be intimidated or threatened by Mr. Mitchell’s new-found presence on the team while he’s vying for his old starting position, I mean, even with his lack of production during his career as discussed on Niners Live recently, why would Dial lay down, roll over, and just give up his starting position without a fight? Do you really think he’s going to go out quietly? Hold that thought….
Let’s go deeper into the man before the football player shall, we?
Because of Dial’s steady growth as a football player, professionalism, leadership, and high character he earned a contract extension from the 49ers through 2019. Here’s what former general manager Trent Baalke had to say about Dial, per the team’s website:
“Throughout his first three seasons in the NFL, Quinton has shown consistent development and has become a key contributor in our defense,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “We have certainly seen his positive impact on the field and in our locker room, but we also recognize the impressive work he does in the community year round. We are pleased to extend the contract of young players like Quinton and are excited to see him continue his career with the 49ers.”
Dial was asked before his extension if he could play the nose tackle position; here was his response:”Yes sir. I played the three, five, zero, six. I played pretty much the whole defensive line,” via the team’s website.
High Character: Dial has a great relationship with his teammates and coaches and has been a model citizen within the community, conducting himself with class on and off the field, helping mentor and support defensive end Arik Armstead in his rookie season, per www.49ers.com.
Leadership: Dial’s blue-collar approach, hard-nose attitude, consistent play, strong work ethic, passion for the game and relentless pursuit of ball-carriers and quarterbacks on the field have been instrumental in gaining respect from his teammates and coaches. Such is seen on display in Mic’d Up — 49ers versus Bengals.
Special Teams Value: In 2015, Dial had two blocked field goals, with one coming against the Cleveland Browns kicker Travis Coons 42-yard attempt, per www.49ers.com. His two blocked field goals made him the first member of the 49ers to do so in the same season since DE Lawrence Pillers in 1983 (two).
The breakdown on Quinton Dial:
Dial was one of the more dominant, run-stuffing defensive tackles while at the University of Alabama (NFL.com), and now he will be back home playing a traditional 2 technique as a 4-3 defensive tackle. He should benefit from the switch.
In 2016 with the 49ers, Quinton Dial regressed in a sense, when you compare his 2015 season when he amassed the following stats (Pro footballfocus.com).
– 59 tackles which rank 13th in the NFL among interior linemen
– 2.5 sacks
– two block field goals
– started a career-high 15 games
– graded 71.3 against the run
– 72.5 in pass rush
Dial was playing out of position lining up as a 0 technique, (head up over the center) dedicated nose tackle instead of a defensive tackle, so even though he’s shown flashes of greatness and the ability to make plays, he was unable to reach his full potential.
At 6’5 318 lbs., he was undersized for a nose tackle where he was playing out of position in the middle taking on a center instead of a guard. Though the 49ers did run a nickel look in which he played defensive tackle, he still didn’t make a lot of plays. The lack of production wasn’t entirely his fault, though, especially this last season in 2016. Considering all Dial and the defense were asked to do while missing the proper pieces, scheme and playing out of position for most of his snaps, it’s not hard to understand why this defense has struggled the way he has over the past few years.
Not to mention injuries to both himself and other key cogs on defense had an adverse, ripple effect on personnel and team production. Moving forward in this new scheme, though, I do feel Quinton Dial will finally be able to be the impactful defensive lineman the 49ers drafted him to be, and demand double teams while being a force to be reckoned with along this retooled defensive line.
I’ll close with this:
There’s a feeling in the air that Dial won’t take the addition of Mitchell lying down and that he will bring his 2015 form to battle/fight for his starting spot. Fearless Predictions: Quinton Dial beats out Earl Mitchell for the starting DT spot opposite Deforest Buckner within the first four to six games of the 2017 season…
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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