The 49ers have been a revolving door for offensive systems and play-callers for the last seven years. Many experts point to the lack of stability at the offensive coordinator position for the accompanying lack of success in San Francisco.
This year, however, we will see Jimmy Raye step in and point this team in the right direction. Raye has not had the most glamorous career, but he has the experience to be able to come in and make this offense balanced.
He is not a young, up-and-coming coach who will run off to be a head coach either. If Raye has any success in San Francisco, he could be fixture at the coordinator position for several years (see Tom Moore).
Balance is the word that 49er fans and the NFL community need to write down and remember for this upcoming season. Many have the impression that Raye and head coach Mike Singletary are going to deploy a “run first” mentality.
But, based on statements from Raye and Singletary, the current perception will not be the reality in 2009.
Singletary and Raye have mentioned on multiple occasions that the offense will be physical and tough-minded. That does not mean they are going to run, run, run, and pass.
It means that they are going to hit defenders in the mouth, sustain blocks, open up holes, protect the pass, and allow the offense to make plays and score touchdowns.
The 49ers now have more offensive firepower than they've seen in several years. Running back Frank Gore will be the centerpiece, but the key is to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
When there are eight men in the box, they will use their deep threats in Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis to combat them. If the defenses decide to double-cover one of our weapons, expect the offense to make adjustments and a find a way to get the ball down field.
I do not feel this team is going to be as predictable as some may think. Raye is going to change things up and will allow the offense to use contingencies based on what the opposing team’s defensive scheme is presenting.
While many think Singletary wants to bring back the same offensive style he was around in Chicago, I think more people need to understand that he is more about balance than just focusing on run-dominated, ball-control offense.
Many are still hesistant to predict big things for San Francisco because of the quarterback conundrum that the team is still going through.
However, quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson is known for his attention to detail and the relationships he has with his QB’s, and he should have a positive impact on the 49ers this season.
Whether it is Shaun Hill or Alex Smith at the helm, 49er fans should feel confident that one of those guys will step up and become the kind of leader this team needs to win the NFC West and enter the playoffs.
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