by Ken Hurst, October 7, 2010
I only went to Oregon for a short time to attend my youngest grandson’s first birthday party on the green grass of a park. Callum has red-golden hair that Redford would die for and shoulders that Arnold would be jealous of...but, when my attention to the SF 49ers was diverted only a moment, Singletary fired Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye after the 31-10 blowout of the Chiefs over the 49ers at Kansas City to drop the Niners to an 0-3 record.
Raye is an NFL lifer. The 64-year-old Raye was coaching in his 34th NFL season. He showed the 49er fans his vision of what put the 49er players in the best position to win when he broke out the spread formation for three games in ‘09 with great success. But, an old black coach who looks like a member of a jazz band, bearded, wearing a fishing hat, sunglasses and rumpled clothes, knows he is an extension of his Head Coach. Therefore he put forth an offense that was so basic, rhino versus. rhino runs, and on 3rd down and eight yards to go, his QB drops back to pass in the oil-derrick spot and gets sacked because he knew that Singletary considered this a masculine way to play offensive football.
Raye knew that Singletary believed that a spread offense was for players who wore ballet slippers and no pads. And preconceived QB rollouts were for players who wore track uniforms and were not tough enough for tyrannous rex football. Singletary didn’t want a “girlie” offense.
Still, Jimmy Raye was the one important factor that made Singletary seem humane. The old, cool dude on the gridiron with the tightly wound Singletary who appears so sharp that even his 49er sweatshirt looked steam pressed. It made Raye seem wise and Singletary seem tolerant. One could sense the affection they had for each other. Then Singletary threw him under the bus rather than saying--”Jimmy, I’m going to let you open it up with your spread and QB rollouts and anything else in your play-book.”
Singletary also could have thrown defensive coordinator Greg Manusky under the bus for allowing what should be an excellent defense to give the second most scoring point to their opponents than all other teams in the NFL. Manusky doesn’t have the imagination to create schemes to sack the opposing team’s QB But, in the defense also perhaps Singletary wants a basic defense that doesn’t take calculated gambles.
With 43-year-old Mike Johnson moving from hi position as QB’s coach to Offensive Coordinator, Singletary can allow Johnson to run a wide open offense making it seem that Raye was the old fuddy dudddy mired in ancient football rather than himself.
Johnson’s last l9 months position has been to tutor Alex Smith. Has he made Smith accurate? Not. But, Smith is accurate when he sees his receiver clearly and drills the pigskin at his numbers. QB rollouts and some use of the spread offense puts Smith in the best position to succeed.
Singletary’s ego is so huge he wants to dominate the 49ers entirely.... and he does. He is the face of every aspect of this team. He has made his players timid rather than bold players who use their
own initiative to win games. If management had waited thirty more days for Jon Guden to clear all of his contract obligations, they could have hired “Chucky”.
But, really, Joe Staley an Patrick Willis should be the spokesmen for this team. And maybe Alex Smith. His value as a QB is still being evaluated but playing for two control freaks, Nolan and Singletary, has toughened him into being a man of character who said of Raye’s firing, “It’s easy to sort of throw someone under the bus and roll your eyes. But, it wasn’t Jimmy, it was all of us not playing well.”
Safety Michael Lewis just jumped ship because he didn’t want to teach his back-up, Taylor Mays, how to take over his starting position.
They are going into Atlanta to play the Falcons who they don’t match up with very well. But, I do think the 49ers will open up their offense which will make the game fun to watch.
Finally, hooray for the S.F. Giants. They remind me of the l960s and early l970’s LA Dodgers with good pitching and not much scoring. If only the Giants had someone to run like the great Maury Wills.