The San Francisco 49ers are expected to introduce Kyle Shanahan as their next head coach after Super Bowl 51 wraps up. At that point, he will begin the process of hiring assistant coaches. Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons have made it clear Shanahan will not be able to hire any of his assistants of significance, but there are some assistants that could join Shanahan in Santa Clara.
One of the notable names is offensive assistant Mike McDaniel. He served as wide receivers coach in Washington and Cleveland in 2013 and 2014, and has been listed as a general offensive assistant for the Falcons since 2015. McDaniel worked with Shanahan in Houston from 2006 to 2008, but then spent two seasons in the brief existence that was the UFL.
I was wondering what led to the UFL stint, and USA Today NFL columnist Tom Pelissero would appear to have the answer. Pelissero put together a fascinating feature article on McDaniel earlier this week. It turns out, McDaniel has dealt with an alcohol problem throughout his life, but has not had a drink since January 2016. He credits the Falcons coaches and front office for providing the support for him to enter a rehab facility and get a better handle on the underlying causes of his drinking (depression).
They don’t clarify when McDaniel went to rehab, but it would appear to be early in the 2016 offseason. Once he returned from rehab, Dan Quinn gave him a bigger role in generating game-plan ideas. Shanahan remained the leader of the offensive coaching staff, but it appears McDaniel got more opportunities this past year.
The article is a good read, providing some context on McDaniel’s development, and what has gotten him to this current point. Given his work with the game plan last year, I am curious if he potentially ends up in an offensive coordinator role. This is Kyle Shanahan’s offense, so my guess is the OC will not have the same level of responsibility as Shanahan had under a defensive-minded head coach in Dan Quinn. We’ll likely find out sometime this coming week what kind of role McDaniel might end up with if he is hired.