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Monday, September 27, 2010
Raye's ouster shows 49ers' desperation

By Mike Sando

Jimmy Raye lasted one season and three games as the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator.

Jimmy Raye
The 49ers have replaced offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after a 31-10 loss in Kansas City.
That's longer than Raye's four most recent predecessors lasted, but making this move so early in the season shows how desperate the 49ers have become after losing their first three games. The move also raises questions about who made the decision ultimately, given that coach Mike Singletary had said Sunday that Raye would remain in the position all season. The 49ers appeared to be in some disarray coming out of their Week 1 game at Seattle. The signs are more tangible now.

Head coaches change their minds, and it's possible Singletary saw no viable alternatives after saying hard decisions would have to be made following a 31-10 defeat at Kansas City in Week 3. The new coordinator, quarterbacks coach Michael Johnson, was viewed internally as a young and rising coach on the staff. Raye, 64, had been well down the list of candidates when Singletary opened the job for interviews following Mike Martz's firing. He was seen as expendable (what's one more coordinator for a team that has gone through five since 2005?).

The 49ers were not going to fire Singletary and there's no evidence suggesting the team thinks David Carr would provide an upgrade at quarterback. That left Raye as the most obvious target for change. The decision was arguably justified based on how the 49ers have played on offense and how inflexible they've appeared. It was also true, however, that Raye was directing the offense in the manner Singletary preferred. What did the 49ers expect Raye to do differently in light of that?

The next question: Is Singletary wound too tightly to steady the team through a rough stretch?