Jimmy Raye Fired by 49ers Mostly Because of Alex Smith
The 49ers fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye on Monday morning, a day after the team stumbled to 0-3 with a 31-10 blowout loss in Kansas City. San Francisco has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL. Many people thought they would win the NFC West because of the poor competition in the division, and some even felt they had a chance to advance in the postseason. Now with an 0-3 start.
The team’s offense has been a mess for the most part. They were destroyed 31-6 on the road by the Seahawks in their season opener. In week two, they scored 22 points in a close loss to the Saints on Monday Night Football. Sunday’s week three loss to the Chiefs was the tipping point as the offense was held without a touchdown until the final play of the game. They wound up with 10 points, but that was mostly cosmetics; the Chiefs essentially held them to a field goal.
Although I thought the defense would carry this team and the offense would do just enough for them to win eight games and the division, neither unit is playing well. The problems start with the offense’s inability to move the ball. Because they don’t get first downs and move the chains, they start off with poor field position and are forced to go long distances, while putting the defense at a disadvantage.
San Francisco is averaging the second-fewest points per game in the league, they have the second worst turnover ratio at -5, and their inability to sustain a drive is second-worst in the league, as they’re converting only 24% of their third downs. Most of their offensive issues start with quarterback Alex Smith.
Regardless of the system in which he’s played and regardless of the season, Smith has not been a good quarterback. He showed a slight ability to look decent last year when the team put him in the shotgun and opened things up, but he still went just 5-5 and did not beat any good teams. This year, the team was relying on him to take the next step and he hasn’t. He’s thrown five interceptions (second most in the league), and had a few returned for touchdowns.
Smith is not a successful NFL quarterback and he’s the main reason coaches have been fired in San Francisco. Norv Turner and Jimmy Raye have coordinated the 49ers offense with Smith as the QB and neither of them have made a difference. Turner has an exceptional reputation as a passing coach, but he failed with Smith.
Now that they’ve gone through three different offensive coordinators, it’s safe to say the common thread through the problems is Smith, not the play caller. Jimmy Raye is out, and the 49ers’ rat is in. Good luck to Mike Johnson, he’ll need it.