2. Will the system translate?
Building a system that fit around Tua’s strengths was obviously a major part of bringing McDaniel in, but it really may be more about what he can do for the running game in Miami. The Dolphins have not had a Top 10 rushing offense since 2016 and they ranked 30th in the league in rushing a season ago.
The additions of Terron Armstead, Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert should all bolster this rushing attack. But just how close will it resemble Kyle Shanahan’s potent zone scheme?
The 49ers have been the complete opposite of the Dolphins in terms of their running game — in two of the last three seasons, San Francisco has ranked Top 10 in rushing twice. That zone-based system has been helping him set up the passing game for years now, and has resulted in him coaching in two Super Bowls with two teams and another NFC title game appearance since the 2016 season.
But how will the reboot look with McDaniel? There have been many disciples that struggled to live up to their predecessors. Ones that certainly come to mind are the many guys who left New England with the respect as Bill Belichick’s guys.
Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Matt Patricia, Joe Judge, the list goes on. Even Josh McDaniels struggled with his first head coaching gig in Denver, and let’s not forget, despite being probably the greatest college football coach of all time, Nick Saban was only 15-17 in Miami.
But even some of these offensive geniuses in recent years have seen their descendants have issues. I know they just made the Super Bowl, but it must be noted that Zac Taylor was 6-25-1 in his first two seasons with the Bengals. That looked much different than what Sean McVay did in his first two years in LA.
Teams all around the league run some form of the zone-run, bootleg offense around the league, including the Browns, Vikings, and Seahawks. But even those attacks are all much differing from what Shanahan and his dad, and guys like Gary Kubiak, built with that scheme. And they’ve all had varying success as well.
So who’s to say McDaniel’s spin on things will be apples to apples? There’s no way to guarantee that.