Bill Walsh

So … why was Jimmy Raye hired again?

Now that we’ve all heard the story about Jimmy Raye’s playcalling being as clear as a lecture from Charlie Brown’s teacher, there’s nothing else to do but take your hand, turn your palm toward yourself, and slam that palm into your face at a high enough velocity to make a point without needing to visit the emergency room. (OK maybe the Charlie Brown part isn’t exactly true. How about this metaphor: Raye’s playcalling is as slow as a senior citizen trying to tell a story on Marty Lurie’s postgame show after 8 pm.)

Here are the 10 reasons I can think of to hire an offensive coordinator, from best to worst:

1. Innovative offensive mind

2. Good track record

3. Ability to tailor gameplans in a way that maximizes the talents of available personnel

4. Can make adjustments quickly

5. Good work ethic/willing to spend the time to prepare for each game

6. Understands what NFL rule changes mean and how to utilize them

7. Communicates well with coaching staff, players

8. Doesn’t demand a high salary

9. Makes the head coach look awesome by comparison

10. Looks good in NFL-licensed floppy hats

From the look of things, Raye has Nos. 8 and 9 down pat. Maybe 10 too, if you’re feeling generous. That’s about it, though. He’s never had success as a playcaller anywhere else, you can’t name one thing about a Jimmy Raye offense that sets it apart from any other offense you’ve ever seen. If you believe the Yahoo report (and after Sunday’s performance, there’s no reason not to), he doesn’t communicate well or make adjustments quickly.

After the Bill Walsh tree brought us names like Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green and many others, this is simply depressing. There’s no other word for it. Norv Turner, a former Cowboy, was hard enough to take. And he was the best offensive coordinator this team has had in the last decade, a coach who may have led Alex Smith to a slightly respectable career if he didn’t get that offer from the Chargers.

It’s fine that the 49ers have a head coach who made his name on defense. It could be better, actually, since it’s impossible for any “offensive mind” to live up to what was done in the past. But Singletary, through is public comments, consistently paints himself as a guy who has a lot of pull when it comes to playcalling. And it seems like Raye was chosen because he wouldn’t clash with him (like Mike Martz did). So we have a head coach who knows next to nothing about crafting a modern offense, who is so threatened by offensive brilliance that he hired a guy who’d blend in with the scenery (unless he committed some obvious screw-ups, like Raye did in Seattle).

Really, there’s no offensive coordinators in college who could do a better job? Somebody young enough to know what a text message is? Or a guy who uses a computer instead of a bunch of bar napkins to keep plays organized, so they aren’t fumbling around on 4th-and-1? Think I’m exaggerating? Check this passage out from Jason Cole’s article:

“It seems like Jimmy calls plays from memory a lot of the time and not exactly the way it’s written down,” said one of the aforementioned sources, adding that the plays often get garbled. “He knows the plays and he knows the right thing to call, but he’s fumbling through his papers and it’s like, ‘Hey, we need to get a play called.’ ”

Raye sounds like a guy who puts his turn signal on three blocks before making a turn. Or a guy who really likes his liver and onions (especially at 4:30 pm during the early bird). If he showed some kind of ingenuity, creativity or anything unique at all, the image of Raye shuffling papers around would make one think he’s got a little mad scientist in him. But in this case, he’s just a bumbling fool. Face, meet palm.

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