If Sunday’s matchup with Miami didn’t have enough storylines, Raheem Mostert’s interview with Tyler Dunne added another. Sticking to football, this is an intriguing meeting between a high-powered offense and an elite defense. The 49ers will look to shake a narrative of not facing explosive offenses. Let’s whittle it down to three storylines.
Mike McDaniel returns to Santa Clara
49ers fans fondly remember McDaniel’s time with the organization. Last season, in particular, was a coming-out party for McDaniel. His personality in press conferences started shining. The wrinkles he added to the 49ers’ running game was evident. Eventually, it led McDaniel to accept the head coach position in Miami.
Miami’s offense has no shortage of speed. Combine that with McDaniel’s play-calling inventiveness. The result is a high-powered, explosive offense. The addition of Tyreek Hill, confidence instilled in Tua Tagovailoa, and a player-friendly approach has reaped immediate benefits.
Now, the teacher meets the student. Kyle Shanahan has a good record against his proteges. You can bet Shanahan had this game circled, as did McDaniel.
Raheem Mostert’s comments
Let’s get this out of the way. Mostert’s comments on the 49ers organization weren’t untruthful. Thirty-one other NFL teams try to rush their players back to the field. Mostert was right to prioritize his health.
The comments concerning Miami having “better talent” can be debated. Mostert isn’t going to put down the guys in his locker room. I’d argue the 49ers, outside of the two starting receivers and quarterback, clear the Dolphins’ talent.
The only issue anyone should have with the interview was Mostert’s comments about his quarterback being able to “actually sling it.” I’m sure Mostert didn’t intentionally slight Jimmy Garoppolo. The issue is Mostert should have worded his response better. Leaving the statement open to interpretation was his only mistake.
The comments sent shockwaves through 49ers’ Twitter. It has even forced players to chime in, from Deebo Samuel to Hill. The players have circled this game, as well.
The return of old 49ers faces
Some fans have dubbed Miami: “49ers Southeast.” It’s not a bad nickname considering the amount of 49ers players who followed McDaniel to Miami.
Trent Sherfield, River Cracraft, Mostert, Wes Welker (receivers coach), and newly acquired Jeff Wilson, Jr. all return for the first time. Sherfield even sent a thinly-veiled jab at the 49ers on Instagram.
There’s nothing better than seeing familiar faces except beating those familiar faces. It will be smiles and hugs before and after the game. Between the white lines, you know these players want to perform well.
This is a highly-anticipated matchup. The lead-up has been interesting. It’s a shame the NFL didn’t recognize the electricity to flex this into a far more interesting primetime meeting. Sunday will be entertaining.