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Staley: Shanahan going through transition without McDaniel

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The downside of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s talent for putting together good staffs is the inevitable losses that occur.

Mike McDaniel worked alongside Shanahan during stints with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta before five seasons together with the 49ers.

McDaniel rose to the level of 49ers offensive coordinator under Shanahan. He had a big role in crafting imaginative game plans that contributed to the 49ers reaching the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game over the past three seasons.

The Miami Dolphins hired McDaniel as head coach in February. McDaniel has opened to rave reviews. The Dolphins are one of two NFL teams with a 3-0 record entering Week 4.

Former 49ers left tackle Joe Staley compared what Shanahan is experiencing to his own challenges as a player during times of change.

“Yeah, I think it’s definitely a transition,” Staley said on the latest episode of "49ers Talk." “Just as a player, when I was playing with Mike Iupati for so long. And then all of a sudden, I’m playing next to a new guard.

“There’s a transition period of getting used to not having that comfort blanket that I had playing next to Mike for all those years. It’s a transition and it takes time to get your footing. And I think it’s the same thing for Kyle and this offense. Kyle has always had [McDaniel] everywhere he’s gone.”


Staley said he has no doubt Shanahan will make it work now that he’s collaborating more closely with offensive line coach Chris Foerster as the run game coordinator and Bobby Slowik as the passing game coordinator.

“That’s one of the things, too, when you have a lot of talent, not only from a players perspective but also coaching staff,” Staley said. “Coming in, I was really impressed with the staff that Kyle built because they’re all very, very bright, up-and-coming coaches and you’re going to see these guys get picked off for head-coaching opportunities.”

The 49ers now have lost assistants over the past two years to head-coaching jobs. In 2021, the New York Jets hired former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to a head-coaching job. Saleh took former 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur with him to the Jets.

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More changes are likely coming, too.

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans turned down a second interview this year with the Minnesota Vikings in order to remain with the 49ers.

Ryans figures to be a top candidate for a head-coaching position during the next hiring cycle.

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