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Mike McDaniel: Fullbacks can be “pretty disruptive” to defense not used to seeing them

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa cracks the top-30 of Chris Simms' top-40 rankings due to his "slick" play in the pocket, but arm strength and consistency still creates cause for concern in Miami.

The fullback has become a rarity in many NFL offenses, but the 49ers have made good use of Kyle Juszczyk over the years and the Dolphins look like they’ll also be incorporating the position into their offense this year.

Head coach Mike McDaniel was on the 49ers staff before being hired this year and the team signed Alec Ingold to a two-year deal with $3.5 million in guaranteed money this offseason. At a Tuesday press conference, McDaniel was asked about the significance of the position in his offensive approach.

McDaniel said there’s an advantage to “a backfield player that can give you different numbers on each side of the center depending on the direction he goes” and that advantage grows because of how rarely opposing defenses see fullbacks.

“It doesn’t hurt that a lot of offenses have gone away from that only because with the historical experience that our staff has had, myself included, defenses aren’t as adept at fitting those types of plays, whether they’re runs or passes, and defending against it, which is a competitive advantage when you’re able to find a fullback that — it’s just not any ordinary human being or you must play with a fullback,” McDaniel said. “You have to have an athletic player that is smart, can understand a lot of schemes and can read on the fly. When that position player plays fast, it can be pretty disruptive to teams that are not used to going against it.”

Ingold was far from the only offensive player to join the team this offseason and the full collection of offensive pieces in Miami points to the team trying to disrupt the defense in different ways from play to play in order to create mismatches they can exploit for points. If that succeeds, McDaniel’s first season with the team will have a good chance at being a successful one.