The Miami Dolphins sent shockwaves on “Black Monday” on January 10 by firing Brian Flores, who went 24-25 overall at the helm including placing the team in playoff contention after a 1-7 start.
On Tuesday morning, January 11, the Dolphins added more shock — by taking an interest in one San Francisco 49ers assistant.
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Via the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero at 8:51 a.m. PT, the Dolphins are interested in 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.
“The Dolphins put in a request to interview 49ers OC Mike McDaniel for their head coaching job, per source,” Pelissero tweeted out. “The Yale grad is Kyle Shanahan’s longtime right-hand man and run-game guru.”
McDaniel’s name is certainly a surprise considering the list of names that have sprouted up as sure-fire NFL head coaching candidates. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report gave his list of top seven coaching candidates of 2022 on Friday, January 7, with no mention of McDaniel.
Although, Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News unveiled his line of names who are considered suitable replacements for Flores. At the bottom of his story released on Tuesday morning? The 37-year-old McDaniel.
True, McDaniel is Ivy League educated. He’s also a former 5-foot-9, 175-pound Yale wide receiver.
He graduated from the university in 2005 as a history major. But while he ran routes in college, he’s spent most of his 49ers coaching tenure working with the running game.
He was named the 49ers’ run game specialist in 2017 when Shanahan first took over the franchise. Then from 2018 to 2020, he served as run game coordinator. The 2019 season saw the ‘Niners ground game hit their peak: Racking up 2,305 total rushing yards and scoring and NFL-best 23 rushing touchdowns according to Pro Football Reference.
This season, the 49ers ranked seventh in average total yards per game at 375.7 — the best among NFC West teams. The 49ers also ranked seventh in rushing yards with 2,166, which additionally placed them ahead of the rest of their division competition. McDaniel has also helped deliver a Pro Bowl season out of Deebo Samuel for the first time in his NFL career.
But the 37-year-old has worked with players who represent his old college football position. While Shanahan was the offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons, McDaniel worked with the wide receivers alongside Raheem Morris from 2015 to 2016. In his first season collaborating with Morris, Julio Jones went on to snatch 136 passes for 1,871 yards and 8 touchdowns per PFR. The following season, the Falcons went on to collect 38 total passing touchdowns during their run to the NFC title.
McDaniel’s other stops include:
Cleveland: Wide receivers coach of the Browns in 2014. Unit caught 274 total passes for 3,678 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in lone season there.
Washington: Offensive assistant from 2011 to 2013. Under McDaniel, Pierre Garcon shattered a franchise record of 113 passes in 2013.
Houston: Offensive assistant with the Texans from 2006 to 2008 where Andre Johnson produced two 100-catch seasons while McDaniel was on the staff.
McDaniel not the Only Request
McDaniel isn’t the first name to surface in the Dolphins’ coaching search. According to the Miami Herald, there’s one notable AFC East assistant who has been linked to the opening.
Brian Daboll of the Buffalo Bills was among the Dolphins’ requests, per the Herald’s Daniel Oyefusi. Daboll has become a hot commodity in coaching circles for his work with Bills quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Per the nfl.com’s coaching and general manager tracker as of Tuesday morning, McDaniel’s name has only been attached to the Dolphins’ head coaching opening so far.
However, per SB Nation’s Justin Hier of Phin Insider, McDaniel’s name has been on the Dolphins’ list before.