From humble beginnings as an intern with the Denver Broncos in 2005, Mike McDaniel has carved an indelible mark in the landscape of NFL coaching.
Rising through the ranks with an impressive list of associations—from the Texans to the Browns and most notably, with the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan—McDaniel’s journey speaks volumes of grit, innovation, and football acumen. Now at the helm of the Miami Dolphins, he’s quickly turning the tide, bringing the team to unparalleled heights.
This article delves deep into McDaniel’s impactful career trajectory, the remarkable start of the Dolphins under his leadership in 2022 and 2023, and a recap of their record-breaking performance against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Dive in, as we chronicle the rise of this NFL head coach and the team he is reshaping into a formidable force.
Mike McDaniel began his NFL coaching career with the Denver Broncos in 2005 as an intern. He then worked with the Houston Texans, Washington Football Team (formerly known as the Washington Redskins), Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, and San Francisco 49ers.
One of his most notable roles was with the San Francisco 49ers, where he served under head coach Kyle Shanahan, first as the run game coordinator and later as the offensive coordinator in 2021. McDaniel and Shanahan have a close working relationship, having collaborated on multiple teams.
McDaniel’s reputation grew due to his work with the 49ers’ diverse and innovative run game schemes, which became one of the most effective in the NFL during his tenure, which concluded with their second NFC Championship Game appearance in three seasons. He then left to become the Dolphins’ head coach.
In his debut as an NFL head coach, McDaniel led the Dolphins to a 3-0 start last season after a 21-19 home win against the Bills on September 25, 2022. They finished the season 9-8 with their star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being sidelined with a head injury and missing the final three games, including a 34-31 loss on the road against the Bills on January 15 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
The Miami Dolphins are off to another 3-0 start under McDaniel and they have become one of the most dynamic offenses in the league, a result of talent and scheme.
McDaniel isn’t merely a fresh addition to the Dolphins. Demonstrating remarkable progress in 2022, his distinct coaching techniques combined with groundbreaking strategies underscore his prowess. Guiding the Dolphins to a wild card playoff position.
The rest of the 2023 season presents a myriad of challenges for McDaniel. Beyond mere wins, McDaniel bears the responsibility of upholding his stature as an offensive genius.
Backing McDaniel is a solid team of coaches. Particularly notable is quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell. Even after retinal detachment, he continues to be a cornerstone of the team’s game plans. Boasting decades of combined NFL experience, this coaching crew lends substantial support to McDaniel in navigating the team’s path.
The Dolphins could easily start the season 6-0 or 5-1 playing teams like the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers in the upcoming weeks. Speaking of Carolina, North Carolina sportsbooks are sure to see more action than normal since reports are out that NFL bets are up 42% this season. The one game that I can see them losing early in the season is in their Week 4 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. If the Dolphins get past their AFC East rivals, they could be 4-0 before hosting the Giants in Week 5 and the Panthers in Week 6, which are both very winnable games.
The Dolphins set a new franchise record for single-game points on Sunday’s 70-20 beatdown of the Broncos at home, despite missing star wideout Jaylen Waddle, who entered concussion protocol following the September 17 win in New England.
Tua Tagovailoa completed 23 of 26 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns, rookie De’Von Achane’s ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries and Tyreek Hill caught nine passes for 157 yards and one touchdown.
Many of the starters, including Tagovailoa and Hill, were pulled from the game early in the fourth quarter. Miami scored the most points by an NFL team in a game since 1966.
Russell Wilson is now 0-3 to start a season for the first time in his career as the Broncos simply could not keep pace with the Dolphins. Wilson completed 23 of 38 for 306 yards with one touchdown and one interception.