SANTA CLARA -- If the 49ers win the Super Bowl, they'll win because of their excellent defense and their elite, cutting edge, borderline unstoppable run game,
And the architect of their run game largely is offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, who doesn't call the 49ers plays, but does draw up most of their runs. And the 49ers have every run imaginable in their playbook. If other teams had the McDaneil and his run game, they might be contenders, too.
Here's what Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday about McDaniel, courtesy of the 49ers p.r. department.
Q: Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel doesn't necessarily look like a traditional NFL coach. And he obviously, in talking with him throughout the year we found he has quite a sarcastic sense of humor and dry wit to him, but obviously he can be serious. He's known to be a pretty good coach. How would you describe that whole dynamic, what's going on with him?
GAROPPOLO: “Mike is awesome, man. He really is. He's kind of that, I don't want to say the mastermind behind everything, but he's kind of that guy in the background that doesn't say a whole ton to a lot of people, but his mind is always moving. The ideas that he comes up with are so fresh and new that it's a cool guy to have on the staff. Just the way that he can implement things. And he simplifies it down to, I mean he's a lot smarter than most of us. So he dumbs it down for us and kind of gets us all on the same page. And it's just a good combination with him and all the rest of the coaches.”
Q: Now that we've afforded the opportunity to talk to offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel this year, obviously he's serious quite a bit, but he might lead the NFL in sarcastic humor and dry wit. Is he much the same with you guys or just behind the scenes? Is kind of what we're seeing what you get?
SHANAHAN: “Yeah, I think so. I haven't watched his press conferences, I don't study them, but I have an idea of how they are, that's Mike. He's an acquired taste and you guys are getting it. So Mike's a good dude, he's really good at what he does and he's himself. He's one of the smartest coaches I've been around and he’s been huge to our team and huge for me throughout my entire career.”
Q: I'm not looking for a percentage, but obviously your run game has evolved quite a bit over the years. How much of that is Mike McDaniel?
SHANAHAN: “Mike does a ton of it. We all do it in here, but we all have our separate areas that we work on. Then we try to bring it together and patch it all together to make an offense as a whole. And then we distribute it to all our position coaches, so Mike gets as much credit as anyone in this building. [Offensive line coach] Chris Foerster gets a lot of credit, our O-Line, all the assistants, all the guys who draw it, the position coaches, but Mike's in charge of that. And Mike's been unbelievable, not just here, he did the same thing for me in Atlanta, Cleveland and was a big part in Washington too.”