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The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports


Multiple coaching candidates plan to run Kyle Shanahan’s scheme; Dolphins interested in 49ers’ Mike McDaniel

Jan 14, 2021 at 9:32 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers may fall victim to the effect of running what many consider to be a successful and innovative scheme — the poaching of talent. Despite the six-win season, the team is just a year removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and head coach Kyle Shanahan remains one of the most highly-respected offensive minds in the league.

NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah points out that one of the subplots within the coach-interviewing flurry across the league is that multiple top candidates plan on running the scheme that Shanahan runs in San Francisco (h/t to Patrick Tulini). That could mean a run on assistants familiar with the system, and the 49ers have an abundance of those.


The first names that come to mind are 49ers run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel and passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur — two names many expect to be hot candidates for offensive coordinator openings around the league. Until the coaching pictures become clearer, it isn't known exactly how many might seek to add one of the 49ers' assistants.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media is reporting that McDaniel is among the list of candidates for the Miami Dolphins' offensive coordinator job.


This offseason, there is nothing Shanahan can do if another team seeks to steal away one of his trusted coaches. In previous years, Shanahan could block any request to interview one of his assistants and has done so if that coach wasn't up for a play-calling position elsewhere.


McDaniel and LaFleur are a big part of Shanahan's game-planning process and probably know the coach's system better than most. If Jeremiah is correct, that will put them in high demand this offseason.

The good news is that Shanahan isn't the only coach who runs the scheme. For example, the Los Angeles Rams run something similar under Sean McVay.

The bad news is the 49ers could potentially lose defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, assistants McDaniel and LaFleur, and VPs of player personnel Adam Peters and Martin Mayhew all in one offseason.

Regardless, it is a subplot worth keeping an eye on.

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