Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Tactical advantage could be out the window between 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan and Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel

Rohan Chakravarthi
Dec 3, 2022 at 12:45 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers are set to host the Miami Dolphins in a reunion between head coach Kyle Shanahan and his protégé Mike McDaniel.

Shanahan has known McDaniel for 17 years. The two started working together with the Houston Texans in 2006 and were together for all but two years until the Dolphins hired the former 49ers offensive coordinator in February to be their head coach.

Is Sunday's game more interesting for Shanahan, knowing that he is going against his former assistant?

"Not really because I think we know their offense very well," Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. "The defense knows their offense very well. It's very similar to ours. They know our defense very well. That's all Mike's gone against, so there's no secrets there."

The main difference: the defensive philosophies, as Miami defensive coordinator Josh Boyer cut his teeth on Brian Flores' staff and was retained when McDaniel joined the Dolphins.

Regardless, Shanahan doesn't believe there'll be many secrets on Sunday when the two teams face off.

"You don't know their defense very well," Shanahan continued. "That's kind of the only difference, a little bit new. But I don't really look at it as [going against] Mike. Mike's done a hell of a job with that offense. He's done a great job as a head coach, just being a leader there. But there's not going to be that many secrets."

While the Dolphins understand the 49ers defense given McDaniel's background, Shanahan doesn't believe that a "cheat code" will come of it, as San Francisco still has very talented players on that side of the ball.

"They know what we do on defense," Shanahan explained. "There's not any, 'Hey, they're in zone coverage. Here's the cheat code.' You've got to move good people like [linebackers] Fred [Warner] and [Dre] Greenlaw and Azeez [Al-Shaair]. You've got to move them with your eyes, and you've got to do it with [defensive end Nick] Bosa and our D-line coming at you."

But, with the talent that Miami possesses, as well as the coaching staff McDaniel has assembled, Shanahan believes the matchup will be fairly even, which bodes for an intriguing battle on Sunday between the two playoff-hopeful teams.

"So they're going to try to do that," Shanahan added. "They're going to try to blow the top off. They're going to try to mix in the run and stay balanced. So it's going to be fun to watch their players, and I think it will all even out a lot more than people realize. But I know they've got a lot of talent. I know they've got a real good coaching staff. I feel the same about us."


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