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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Baldy: 49ers miss Mike McDaniel, offense flat without him

Sep 27, 2022 at 10:53 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers defense has been outstanding through three games this season. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the offense. The Niners currently own the No. 2 ranked defense in the league. The offense, on the other hand, sits at No. 24.

While the 49ers have struggled to a 1-2 record, the Miami Dolphins, coached by Kyle Shanahan's former right-hand man, Mike McDaniel, are one of two undefeated teams and just knocked off the Buffalo Bills.

Some are starting to wonder if the loss of McDaniel was too much for Shanahan and the 49ers offense to overcome.

"I thought they would miss him, and I think they [do]," NFL analyst Brian Baldinger said on 95.7 The Game's The Morning Roast. "It just looks very beige, this offense, if you've got to put a color to it. It's just flat. I think Mike McDaniel is a big loss because what Mike does, nobody is willing—even if you're willing to put the time in, you don't know, really, what you're looking at. He just has that skill.

"You can replace a running back coach. You can replace a run-game coordinator. They get replaced all the time. But [you can't replace] somebody that is willing to do what Mike did. And so, I thought it would show up, and look, you had one explosive run by Wilson. You're on your third running back. I understand that. One explosive run. Otherwise, they were struggling to get two yards a carry."

Removing Jeff Wilson Jr.'s 37-yard run from the equation, the 49ers averaged just 2.8 yards per carry against the Broncos.

Baldinger added, "And so, it has looked like that for much of the season so far."

So what is the 49ers offense's identity in 2022? The NFL analyst's response wasn't what hosts Bonta Hill and Joe Shasky hoped to hear because it's probably not something that is sustainable through 17 games.

"I think the identity of the offense is their defense just giving them good field position and getting the ball back to them," Baldinger said. "You think about this: They had like 15 possessions, but on 12 possessions on Sunday night, they had a first down or less. One or fewer first downs on 12 possessions.

"So if you ask what's the identify, the identity is you fumble the ball at midfield on a quarterback-center exchange, the most basic play in football, and the defense gets you the ball back in three plays. Their identity right now is their defense.

"If the defense takes the ball away, forces a punt, like they've been doing for three straight games in a row, that's when the offense is basically feasting. Other than that, I can't give [you the identity]."

You can listen to the entire interview with Baldinger below.

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