Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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If San Francisco can’t stop Mike McDaniel’s attack, can anyone?

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Since Warner arrived in San Francisco, opposing quarterbacks have had as much trouble finding affordable real estate as Bay Area residents themselves. The 49ers have allowed just 71 completions to the intermediate middle over the last five seasons, 15 fewer than any other defense. When passers have dared to throw to the golden middle against the Warner-led defense, the going’s been tough. The 49ers have forced the lowest expected completion percentage (56.5 percent) to the intermediate middle since 2018, the only defense under 58.0 percent.

Suffice to say, the 49ers’ defense presents a nightmare matchup for the Dolphins’ offense. It is doubtful that Miami’s 28th-ranked rushing attack will provide any breathing room against a stout San Francisco front. To make matters worse, the Dolphins could be down both starting offensive tackles against one of the best defensive lines in the league. Tagovailoa will do his best to dull the pass rush by getting rid of the ball quickly, but the 49ers average the third-quickest pass-rush get-off from the edge this season (0.83 seconds). If the 49ers can disrupt Waddle and Hill at the beginning of their routes and clog up the windows Tagovailoa is used to seeing open, this freight train of an offense could be derailed fast.

Adaptability is one of the most essential abilities for a coach to possess in this league. If you can’t evolve, you won’t last long. McDaniel is acutely aware of the 49ers’ defensive philosophy and surely will have some adjustments up his sleeve. How will McDaniel counterpunch now that the training wheels are off? If the Dolphins’ offense is able to stay on track and continue to create explosive plays in this matchup, the rest of the NFL will be put on notice.

Image & Story Credit: nfl.com

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