Mike McDaniel Makes First Staff Hire & It’s a Former 49er: Report


Getty Kyle Shanahan roams the sidelines with his 49er assistants next to him during a September 26 game versus the Packers.

Once Mike McDaniel took the head coaching reins for the Miami Dolphins, thoughts of some possible San Francisco 49ers representation surfaced among those who follow both franchises, given McDaniel’s previous ties with his former employer.

Sure enough, McDaniel’s first reported hire happens to be a former 49er.

ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on 49ers!

Via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle on the morning of Wednesday, February 9, McDaniel is adding Ex-49ers tight ends coach Jon Embree to his first Dolphins’ staff, where he will hold the same coaching position.

Since his departure from the 49ers, Embree reportedly drew interest from the Denver Broncos via Denver’s 9News’ Mike Klis.

But now, the 56-year-old is in the process of heading to South Beach to reunite with the former 49ers’ offensive coordinator.

Embree’s 49er Fallout

Per Branch, Embree and the 49ers parted ways over what reports stated was a refusal to take a pay cut to return with the franchise.

The decision ended a six season tenure in the Bay Area for Embree, where he helped turn a former fifth round selection named George Kittle into one of the league’s top tight ends and perennial Pro Bowler. Kittle made all three of his Pro Bowl appearances with Embree as his TE coach.

Embree was one of the first Kyle Shanahan hires when the 49ers head coach got introduced to the franchise back in 2017. Before his Bay Area arrival, Embree has worked with the tight ends group with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014 to 2016) and the Cleveland Browns (2013).

Before those NFL stops, Embree coached at his alma mater the University of Colorado from 2011-2012, but was fired after going 4-21 overall including enduring a 1-11 mark in his final season — the worst season in school history.

The State of the Dolphins’ Tight End Room

Is there a chance Embree will be working with a completely different tight end group in Miami?

Mike Gesicki, the team’s leading tight end, and Durham Smythe, the ‘Fins second-best TE option, are both 2022 unrestricted free agents according to Spotrac.

In his last three seasons, the 6-foot-6, 247-pound 26-year-old has seen an uptick in his receptions including the career-high 73 he snatched this past season. He also put together a career best 780 receiving yards. Gesicki went on to finish second behind Jaylen Waddle in the receptions and receiving yardage category. He will be entering his fifth season in 2022.

If Embree does coach Gesicki, he may love the fact that Gesicki can make these types of catches:

And this one:

Outside of Gesicki, Smythe hauled in 34 grabs for 357 yards. Both are towering 6-foot-6 options when paired together. However, McDaniel and the new Dolphins regime are facing a critical offseason that involves which tight end they may be able to keep. Already, this Heavy on Cardinals article mentions Gesicki as a prime free agent target for Arizona given the situation involving Zach Ertz.

McDaniel Could Also Soon Add QB Coach

Embree may not be the only staff hire this week for McDaniel and the Dolphins.

First reported by Josh Kendall of The Athletic on Tuesday, February 8, Atlanta Falcons quarterback coach Charles London is interviewing for the role of offensive coordinator.

Along with signal-callers, London has a background in coaching running backs — which was what he did under former Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy from 2018-2020. He also coached the backfield for the Houston Texans from 2014 to 2017 under Ex-head coach Bill O’Brien.

Read More