San Francisco Roulette: A Bullet Named Jimmy Raye

Jason Figueiredo@sportschatterCorrespondent IMay 22, 2009

Mike Singletary’s supporters remind me a lot of President Obama’s supporters. 

With the entire country wanting “change”, people are very hesitant to criticize any move our President makes.  It is too early in his presidency to see if the changes he is creating will have a positive or negative effect down the road.

And while the uncertainty of our future isn’t immediately important, the belief that we are in good hands is all that really matters.

49ers fans are definitely in good hands with Mike Singletary, and his supporters are so excited about the changes he is bringing to the organization, they want to believe that everything that he touches will produce riches.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support our President and our coach, but I definitely don’t fully agree with every decision they have made so far. 

My biggest beef with Singletary this offseason is the signing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye.  Despite Singletary’s plead of “wanting winners”, Mike interestingly picks a journeyman coach that has seen only glimpses of success.

Jimmy starts his 26th season as an NFL coach this fall, and his 12 years as an offensive coordinator are far from impressive.  

Raye’s 67-125 record as an OC should immediately raise eyebrows to fans. A 34.9 percent win percentage can hardly be classified as being a winner—unless its OK for winners to lose 65 percent of the time, because if that’s the case, then I must have missed that memo.

His first two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams kicked off his offensive coordinator career with a bang.  He had the pleasure of feeding the ball to Erik Dickerson, who we all know was game changing running back.  In 1984, Raye ran the ball 541 times, allowing Dickerson to record an amazing 2,105 yards.  Since then, Raye has only reached the 500 rushing attempt mark once and has had a 1.25 pass attempt/rush attempt ratio. 

Those two years with LA would be the last back-to-back winning seasons Raye would have. In fact, he would only see two more winning seasons as an offensive coordinator leading into this year.

After leaving LA, Raye would go on to win seven games in his next four years as an OC with Tampa Bay (1985-86), New England (1990), and back in LA (1991).

Most recently, Raye called plays for the Oakland Raiders in 2004-05, where he failed to win more than five games in a season. 

These results are not what I want to see out of an offensive coordinator who is supposed to help us move forward.  Raye’s stagnant resume makes me believe that Singletary’s recent decision won’t be the Pfizer pill our offense desperately needs.

But to give the guy a little credit, not all of Jimmy’s stats are that dark and gloomy.

He did have somewhat successful years in Kansas City. He was able to pull off a nine-win season (the third of his career), and he didn’t have a year with double-digit loses. 

Raye has also been able to produce a quarterback who has thrown over 3,000 yards in four of in his past five offensive coordinator seasons.  He did this with the likes of Elvis Grbac and Kerry Collins, hardly Hall of Fame quarterbacks. 

He has also had five seasons in which his running back reached over 1,000 yards, most recently in 2005 with Lamont Jordan on the Raiders.

These stats provide me with a little hope that we are going to see productive seasons out of Alex Smith/Shaun Hill and Frank Gore, which could be the x-factor to take this team to the next level. 

But, if win-loss records are a testament to anything, I won’t be holding my breath.