Legends Suggest 49ers Miss ‘Deebo Samuel Whisperer’

San Francisco 49ers, Mike Daniel

Getty Ex-San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Daniel with the Miami Dolphins.

Unlike the San Francisco 49ers‘ offense, which has been incredibly underwhelming in 2022, the Miami Dolphins, coached by Kyle Shanahan‘s long-time offensive coordinator Mike Daniel, are flying high: they’re averaging 291.3 passing yards per game, 24.5 points per game, and 355.3 overall yards per game, good for the fourth, ninth, and 13th ranks on the NFL through Week 3, respectively, according to Pro Football Reference.

While the Dolphins may find themselves without Tua Tagovailoa for the foreseeable future, as the third-year quarterback had to be carted off the field with an apparent head and neck injury, Daniel has built a machine in Miami that was still able to put up 193 passing yards and nine points on the evening despite being down their offensive engine.

The 49ers, by contrast, have struggled to find their footing without McDaniel on the sidelines, ranking 24th, 28th, and 29th in passing, points, and overall yards, respectively, per Pro Football Reference, and fans from blue collar to famous have taken notice. As some fans take to social media to air their grievances, others, like former left tackle Joe Staley and three-time National Sports Writer of the Year-winner Peter King took to the airwaves to air their grievances and provide some insight for good measure too.

Joe Staley Beleaves The San Francisco 49ers Miss Mike McDaniel

Speaking with Rob “Stats” Guerrera and Levin T. Black of Niner Nation on their podcast, Staley explained that not only did McDaniel serve as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator, but he designed many of their plays, too, as transcribed by All 49ers FN.

“He is the Wizard of Oz for the run game,” Staley said of McDaniel. “And not just the run game — the offense. His genius comes in the construction of the plays, utilizing different players’ skill sets in different situations. Kyle is an unbelievable play caller. He can piece everything together really quickly and understand the overall concept, whereas Mike McDaniel is the one who’s making the picture. He’s the artist that’s constructing this jigsaw puzzle, and then gives it to Kyle and says, ‘You’re welcome.'”

Has Shanahan been benefiting from McDaniel’s offensive ingenuity all along? Based on Jimmy Garoppolo’s now-infamous mid-game lip reading, the case certainly appears to be mounting.

Peter King Believes Mike McDaniel Was The ‘Deebo Samuel Whisperer’

When King was asked about Daniel on an appearance with 95.7 The Game, he provided a similarly worrisome quote about the Niners’ offense, this time involving star “wide back” Deebo Samuel, as transcribed by Niners Nation.

“I think Mike McDaniel was more of a Deebo whisperer than a quarterback whisperer,” King claimed. “I think Mike McDaniel was hugely instrumental in changing the direction of Deebo Samuel’s career. I don’t necessarily think that he was as important as say, Kyle Shanahan was in working with the quarterback…My gut feeling is that Kyle Shanahan probably had as much to do as anybody with the play of Jimmy Garoppolo last year during the season. So I understand the thought about missing Mike McDaniel and all that, and it’s a valid thought, but I’m just not sure it’s real.”

If Staley’s assertion that McDaniel was indeed the catalyst that brought together the Niners’ offensive game, then King’s comments hold considerable weight, as the idea to take the ex-second round pick with exceptional YAC ability and placing him in the offensive backfield to fish for mistakes was truly a stroke of brilliance. As more and more teams experiment with using wide receivers in the running game, the excitement of Samuel’s once-innovative offensive usage has since become a standard trick in the offensive toolbox of more than a few teams. Still, with McDaniel gone, the task now falls on Shanahan and new offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik to keep Samuel involved and innovating.

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