Jimmy Raye has been fired as the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator just three weeks into the NFL season, according to league sources. This comes just a day after head coach Mike Singletary stated that Raye would remain in his position for the remainder of the year.
Apparently, that will no longer be the case.
Quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson will take over as the primary play caller and will become the eighth offensive coordinator in eight years.
Raye was hired during the prior offseason, and lead the 49ers to the sixth worst offense in terms of total yards. So, it was clear that he was already on the hot seat.
Heading into 2010, the 49ers had high expectations and many projected them to claim the NFC West crown for the first time in eight years.
Moreover, with a quality supporting cast around him, former No. one overall pick Alex Smith no longer had any excuses and this was truly a make or break season for the quarterback.
However, Smith's below average performance has been an integral contributor to the team's pathetic 0-3 start.
At the same time, he has made several questionable decisions and I blame the poor play-calling for the majority of his struggles.
Instead of employing a run-heavy scheme and making star running back Frank Gore the focal point of the offense, Raye has had Smith attempt an average of 39.7 passes which ranks seventh in the league.
Since they've become so predictable, defenses are able to load up in coverage and dial up aggressive blitz packages which makes their weak pass protection even more vulnerable to allowing sacks.
Furthermore, a lack of a ground game has put themselves in difficult 3rd-and-long situations, which is why they've only converted 24% of their third downs.
Moreover, Raye was reluctant to throw the ball downfield which lead to a lack of explosive plays and inability to swing the momentum in their favor.
Luckily, now that Raye has been fired I expect the unit to improve. That was one of the few brilliant moves made by the organization this season, and the team's performance should reflect it.
Johnson is best known for his attention to fundamentals and detail which should fix their lack of discipline and focus. How he will perform in an expanded role is still yet to be soon.
But, to be honest, he does will surely be better than Raye did.
I'm confident that the 49ers can turn things around, and I'm firmly sticking by my prediction for them to win the division. And, as always, I wish them the best of luck moving forward. Hopefully, this is the start to a new era.