Commentary | A New Dolphins Era with Head Coach Hire Mike McDaniel


David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS

New Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks on before the start of his introductory press conference at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Tommy Thornton, Contributing Writer

The Miami Dolphins have hired a new head coach, Mike McDaniel. Previously, McDaniel was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, where he went to the NFC Championship round in the playoffs this year. Although McDaniel did not call the plays for that offense, he designed the plays and turned wide receiver Deebo Samuel into a dual-threat player receiving handoffs from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Samuel had over 1,770 yards last season with a specific role that McDaniel put him in. Samuel was a hybrid player, playing both receiver and running back. This wasn’t seen before in the league, with a player getting eight touches a game, also with five or more catches, while lining up in a receiving slot. If Mike McDaniel can change the Jaylen Waddle of the Dolphins’ role as a receiver to a more dynamic player, that should give the Fins’ offense a boost compared to last season. 

Another reason the Dolphins hired McDaniel is because of the Shannan offense he designed. Kyle Shannan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, played an offense with the idea of zone run blocking. This is essentially offensive lineman blocking in zone coverage, instead of blocking a certain man. When the defense side of the ball figures out that the offense is blocking zone and they start to blitz, the play-action part of the offense is put into motion. That is when the quarterback fakes the handoff and goes out for a pass. When more players blitz on defense, it leads to more players being open on offense. By the time McDaniel transfers his way of the Shannan offense to Miami, a lot of zone blocking will be placed, which might lead to having a higher-ranked offensive line. 

McDaniel can transform Miami’s sluggish offense into a great one: that is not concerning to fans. The part that McDaniel doesn’t bring to the table is his defensive leadership, which shouldn’t be much of a problem because Miami has had a top-ten defense for two straight years, and the recent coach hires on the defensive side aren’t disappointing as well. Four-time Pro Bowler Sam Maddison is the new cornerback coach. Having a Dolphins legend to lead his old position is good for the team. Also, having Pat Surtain as a defensive assistant can help keep the defense in top-ten shape like it was before. 

The hire of Mike McDaniel as the new head coach may have been spectacular at first, but with time passing by, he and the rest of the organization should be more comfortable leading this team to victory.