This week is shaping up to be the most important and challenging time of Mike Singletary’s tenure as the 49ers Head Coach. The difficult times that he would probably say “define you as a man.” The fan disappointment with the Jimmy Raye offense blew wide open Tuesday when Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports published an article revealing that Raye’s troubles getting play calls delivered on time, and accurately, have been going on the entire time he has been the Offensive Coordinator.
This article painted a picture of chaos in the offensive coaching ranks that is embarassing to the organization, as well as to Raye and Singletary. Which means it cannot be pleasing to Singletary’s boss, Jed York. The article also indicates that the players themselves are getting fed up with the situation. For those who have somehow not yet read this story, here is the link: –> YAHOO! ARTICLE <--
When a story like this breaks, you have to wonder where Cole got his information. The old Inquiring Minds Syndrome. It’s possible a player or two provided the inside pooparoni, but less likely than a couple of other possibilities. From descriptions of Raye’s behavior in the OC booth on high, the culprit might be one of the fellows up in that booth along with Raye. Paraag Marathe is in that booth, but so are some other guys whose identity is unknown to me. If it was Marathe, though, it would be difficult to imagine why he wouldn’t have simply relayed his impressions directly to York and have the matter handled quietly in house. I suppose one could get really conspiratorial and wonder if York has already grown weary of Singletary and leaked the article himself to lay the groundwork for giving Singletary the heave ho at season’s end without pissing off the fan base.
But my own best guess is the unnamed source of the article is one or more of the beat writers. These scribes are privy to a lot of inside knowledge and gossip that they cannot write about themselves without getting cold shouldered out of the very building they earn their money covering. One way to get a story out in the open where they can begin grilling Singletary about it is to leak the story they can’t write to a national source. Matt Barrows tweeted yesterday, in response to a questioner asking him if he believed the Yahoo! article was true, “Don’t question it one bit; issue must be rectified somehow.” This remark indicates Barrows knows first hand about the issue.
Now that the real “elephant in the room” has been exposed, you can bet Singletary will have to answer questions about it. Off the top, maybe someone like, oh say Tim Kawakami or Lowell Cohn, will ask politely: “Either you are a doofus for not knowing this problem existed or you are a doofus for not fixing it. Which doofus would you like to be?”
There’s no way to sugarcoat this situation. In fact, it is pretty mind boggling. The only silver lining in the mess is that maybe Raye’s offense might actually work a little better if the plays he calls are the ones that get called in the huddle and not some garbled modificated “who the eff knows what this play is but let’s get moving gents” plays. Maybe we would see a little rhythm to the offense, which has always seemed to be a missing commodity.
The tactical solution to the problem will go into effect in next Monday night’s Saints game. Raye will be moving down from the booth to the sidelines and relaying the plays to Smith directly, and not through a middleman. It’s possible Smith will also be equipped with a wrist band just like Brett Favre, which has the plays numbered and would allow Raye to just relay a simple number out to Smith instead of a multi-word phrase.
However, that the problem existed at all, and went unresolved so long, is very troubling. It strikes to the core of Singletary’s competence as the HC. It also undermines his support from the fans and from ownership, as well as possibly the players themselves. Monday, we said the honeymoon was over for Singletary. That looks a little optimistic right now. We might already be at the “can this marriage be saved” stage.
Gonna be a hot time in the old town in the days ahead.