McDaniel, believe it or not, has been in the NFL since 2005 as an intern and in 2006 he got his first coaching stint with the Texans as an offensive assistant. When you look at him, he looks like Nick Burns your company’s computer guy, or the guy who plays guitar at a party when no one asked him to. If you can get past the fact that he isn’t a physically imposing guy, you’ll see that McDaniel is a football junkie. Think of it like Moneyball. Tons of guys got overlooked for biases that didn’t attribute to how well they played the game. I feel McDaniel falls into that thought process.
In 2017, McDaniel was hired by the 49ers to be their running game coordinator. In 2017, the 49ers had the 20th best running game in the league. The 2018 49ers saw their running game go up to 13. 2019 saw a major leap in terms of rushing proficiency when the 49ers got all the way up to second in the league in rushing yards for the year. And in 2020 the 49ers were rated as the 4th best rushing team in the league.
The point is, Mike McDaniel has taken the 49ers running game from the back half of the league to up into the top five of the league. That’s really good in case you were wondering.
You may be thinking to yourself that the current Dolphin’s roster has nothing in place that gives us any hope to think that the Dolphins can be a good running team. Besides the Jay Ajayi year in 2016, the Dolphins have been a below-average rushing team.
The last real-time the Dolphins were solid on the ground was when Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams were doing their thing over a decade ago.
With McDaniel, I and you would like to think that recognizing what it takes to have a solid ground game is something that Mike McDaniel knows how to do. He should have a good idea on what kind of lineman he needs and what kind of running backs it takes.
Something I find good is that the 49ers have had a very good running game over the last few years with a litany of different guys carrying the ball. Makes me think of the old Denver Broncos teams that would have a different 1,000-yard rusher every year. It didn’t matter who the back was. They had speed guys, power guys, decent at both guys. It never mattered because the blocking was so on-point.
That’s what I envision for the Dolphins with McDaniel at the helm. A system of blocking that uses creativity to open up holes. Watch any 49ers game and you get a ton of that.
Oh, and in 2021, Mike McDaniel was named the offensive coordinator of the 49ers. San Francisco rated as the best rushing team in the league. Not bad at all.