Jimmy Raye. Sounds like the name of a country bluegrass singer doesn’t it?
That may be, but the only tune the San Francisco 49ers want to hear from James Arthur Raye II is a song of victory.
After accepting the unstable role of offensive coordinator for the Red and Gold in late January, Raye must attempt to resurrect a stagnant offense that has not ranked in the league’s Top 20 since 2003.
And if Raye doesn’t start strummin’ some winning strings on his banjo, the Niners could make him the seventh victim of the offensive coordinator guillotine in the last seven years.
Raye holds more than 30 years of NFL coaching experience. He most recently served as the running backs coach for the New York Jets where he guided Thomas Jones to consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and groomed a budding star in Leon Washington.
With 11 seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator under his belt, Raye possesses the know-how but does not boast a prolific track record. In 2000, his Kansas City Chiefs ranked eighth in the NFL in offensive production, but Raye has never guided any of his other five offenses to a Top 10 finish in that category.
Raye is said to be a player’s coach and will fill the mold of the run-first mentality head coach Mike Singletary will look for next season.
“We want to be able to run the ball when we have to run the ball and that’s the staple of where you start,” Raye said on the team’s official website.
Singletary will enter into his first full season of head coaching duties with San Francisco in 2009.
The Chicago Bears linebacking legend succeeded Mike Nolan eight games into the 49ers 2008 campaign. Ownership decided to part ways with Nolan after compiling an 18-37 record in more than three seasons with the team.
The irony is that Nolan brought Singletary with him from Baltimore and named him the assistant head coach with the Niners in 2005. Prior to that promotion, the only coaching experience Singletary had was the previous two seasons as linebackers coach for the Ravens.
With only a handful of NFL coaching years, Singletary remains untested and his fate in one of the toughest professions in sports has yet to be determined.
One thing that is certain is that Mike Singletary is a no-nonsense coach. Much like the Hall of Famer’s playing days; Singletary is going to be in his players’ faces and won’t take attitude from anyone on or off the field.
This notion became apparent when Singletary sent tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room with 10 minutes left in a game against the Seattle Seahawks after the embattled player slapped an opposing player. At halftime of this same contest, it was reported that Singletary dropped his pants in the locker room to emphasize that the team was getting their butts kicked.
After taking over for Nolan, Singletary topped off the 49ers season with a 5-4 record. San Francisco won five of the team’s final seven games in 2008 and the organization awarded Singletary with a four-year, $40 million contract.